Representatives from a dozen donor nations joined Afghan leaders, international partners and Resolute Support personnel to review progress on transparency, accountability and affordability initiatives within the Afghan Security Institutions, as well as strategize the way forward in these critical areas. The Afghan Ministry of Finance hosted the fifth meeting of the Oversight and Coordination Body, an ambassador-level gathering, Nov. 2. (U.S. military photo by Lt. Charity Edgar)
Story by Lt. Charity Edgar
KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 3, 2015) — Representatives from a dozen donor nations joined Afghan leaders, international partners and Resolute Support personnel to review progress on transparency, accountability and affordability initiatives within the Afghan Security Institutions, as well as strategize the way forward in these critical areas.
The Afghan Ministry of Finance hosted the fifth meeting of the Oversight and Coordination Body, an ambassador-level gathering, Nov. 2. The organization of international, military and Afghan leaders was formed in 2013 in order to bring together entities vested in Afghanistan’s security.
Minister of Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi co-chaired the meeting with Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Deborah Lyons, who welcomed the event participants and provided background on the history and purpose of the OCB.
"The work of the OCB is critical to all of us involved in strengthening Afghanistan — it is equally important to the Afghan citizen who rightly expects that their military and police will be well equipped to protect them,” said Lyons. "Putting in place the right systems to ensure efficient and wise administration of public resources — this, this is the hard, hard work of governance. It takes time, patience and a lot of people working together.”
Hakimi discussed his ministry’s commitment to fostering strong relationships with international partners on the path to Warsaw, where the next major gathering of donors to Afghanistan will meet.
The United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan was also on hand to discuss the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which coordinates the funding to build and maintain a professional police force, as well as implement reform priorities of the Ministry of Interior.
Noorulhaq Uloomi, Minister of Interior, and Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, Minister of Defense, discussed their agencies’ requirements and the actions underway to accomplish them.
Stanekzai highlighted improvements within the Ministry of Defense, including fuel consumption metrics and monitoring, payroll systems to eliminate corruption and the problem of "ghost soldiers” and transparency in financial auditing.
Uloomi also stressed the commitment of his ministry to fight corruption and promote transparency.
"Considerable improvements in leadership, based on management experience, are being applied to all sections of [the] Ministry of Interior and the Afghan National Police,” said Uloomi. "The purpose is to bring critical changes in all police headquarters and central units in order to better fight corruption and assure transparency and accountability.”
He noted recent recruitment efforts of professional civilian staff that promoted more efficient processes and enabled police to focus on security versus administrative tasks.
Both ministries highlighted their efforts to improve participation by women in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, including enhancement of recruitment and training. The ministries affirmed that strong female representation is essential to maximize national security.
This was the first OCB for Maj. Gen. Gordon "Skip” Davis, Jr., the recently appointed commander of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. Davis, who is on his fourth tour in Afghanistan, outlined the mission of CSTC-A and the continued commitment to donors through fiscal oversight and accountability.
"CSTC-A’s purpose is to help our Afghan partners develop sustainable, effective and affordable Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” said Davis. "President Ghani’s mandate to us is to develop enduring Afghan systems and processes, help make the Afghan Security Institutions affordable and maintain international community support.”
Davis emphasized Afghan-led and tailored systems where government leaders understand the issues and take ownership of the solution. He provided progress updates on the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’ budgeting and procurement planning, equipment and facilities sustainment, long term affordability, procurement processes and personnel and pay systems. Davis also highlighted the way forward in these areas.
He applauded the ministries’ transparent anti-corruption and waste initiatives focused on gaining efficiency and improving effectiveness. He concluded his remarks by focusing on the command’s train, advise and assist mission within the Afghan Security Institutions, explaining that CSTC-A works to develop resource management, inspector general transparency, accountability, oversight and rule of law capability, in addition to providing resources in accordance with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces requirements.
Davis thanked the coalition partners and donor nations for their role in continued progress within the Ministries of Defense and Interior.
"Our collective efforts are building real capacity, institutionalizing change and improving affordability,” said Davis. "Your contributions and support are making a difference and are critical for continued progress.”
About CSTC-A/DCOS-SA: The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan/Deputy Chief of Staff-Security Assistance trains, advises and assists within the Afghan Security Institutions to develop resource management, transparency, accountability and oversight and Rule of Law capability. The command also provides resources in accordance with Afghan National Defense Security Forces’ requirements while ensuring fiscal oversight and accountability of funds and materiel delivered.