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Afghan Government Strips 1,600 NGOs Of Licenses

Widows of the Afghan wars listening to a presentation by the NGO CARE International in Kabul in January (epa) 7 February 2006 -- The Afghan government today stripped operating licenses from more than 1,600 Afghan and international nongovernmental organizations.

Speaking in Kabul, Economics Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang said the stripped NGOs are accused of economic fraud or corruption.

In the past year, corruption at NGOs has been a major topic of discussion among Afghan politicians and policymakers.

Farhang said that Kabul is determined to make NGOs transparent and fully accountable for their activities.

The work of NGOs was a frequent theme during campaigning for the 18 September elections to the country's national legislature and provincial councils, with critics accusing such groups of siphoning off aid intended for development and other projects.