Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul reports on the restructuring of the Afghan government involving removal or renaming of key bodies such as the Independent Election Commission, and Independent Human Rights Commission. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding his name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
At a meeting headed by acting Prime Minister Hasan Akhund, the Cabinet discussed a massive restructuring of the government and approved the elimination of some important government agencies. In addition to the ministries, some of the independent commissions and agencies established by the former government were also removed or at least renamed.
According to the Cabinet, the State Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, State Ministry for Peace, Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) are among those to be removed within a week. Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi commented that “There is no need for these commissions to exist and operate” while announcing these developments.
Additionally, the Cabinet approved the renaming of the Independent Human Rights Commission, but stated that it will permit the body to continue its work. This renaming is also scheduled to occur within the week, but it is unclear what the new name of the body will be or the extent to which it will be actually be permitted to “continue its work.”
Former IEC head Aurangzeb noted that “dissolving the commission would have huge consequences…If this structure does not exist, I am 100 percent sure that Afghanistan’s problems will never be solved as there won’t be any elections,” while Halim Fidai, who governed four provinces under the previous government, remarked: “They are against all democratic institutions. They get power through bullets and not ballots.”
The Cabinet has tasked the prime minister’s administrative office to work with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant government agencies to determine the future of the employees of the ministries and commissions, pay their remaining salaries, and determine and transfer movable and immovable assets within a month to the new government.
However, the Cabinet failed to indicate what the future holds for the thousands of civil servants who were employed by these government institutions. The Taliban appears to show no concern for the fact that a number of competent and hardworking employees will lose their jobs, and does not even pretend to hold a discussion about the potential for these individuals to be hired by other government agencies.