Slow Pace of Bureaucracy in Afghan Province
Residents of Khost province in southeast Afghanistan say local government and the courts are painfully slow in processing cases.
Residents of the province say that whenever they seek action from a local government office, their case gets delayed, sometimes for months on end. No explanation is given, and officials sometimes demand money to resolve matters.
Provincial governor Abdul Jabar Naimi is among those who have raised concerns about the quality of public service and its effects on confidence in the institutions of government.
The acting head of Khost provincial assembly, Daud Shah Makinzoi, says the council has received dozens of complaints about local government offices, and has requested explanations for the delays.
Engineer Harun, who heads the administrative reform department in the provincial government, said all complaints were dealt with seriously and offending officials were subject to penalties. He said dozens of low-level officials and some senior ones had been dismissed or had their pay docked.
Similar complaints are levelled at Khost’s appeals courts. IWPR interviewed two men from the Ismailkhel district who were waiting for their cases to be heard. Carrying folders and papers, Sultan Shah and Zekrullah looked exhausted and despondent.
“It’s 15 days since my son finished his prison term,” Sultan Shah said. “Now the judges are making different excuses. My son has been in prison for the last 15 days for no reason. If they keep on making excuses, I doubt my son will be released in the next year.”
He added, “Sometime they say go to this or that office, but I’m still not sure whether they’re asking for money.”
Describing his own case, Zekrullah said, “My car was confiscated because they claimed it was carrying explosives, but that allegation hasn’t been proved. I was told to get the appeal court to pronounce me innocent. But every day they ask me to come back the next day or the one after. “Who can we appeal to? What should we do?”
The appeals court’s head, Abdul Tawab, rejects allegations of delays and miscarriages of justice. He told IWPR that all of the court’s departments were working to a high standard, and that if anyone had any complaints, they should contact him directly and he would resolve the issue himself.
Ahmad Shah is an IWPR-trained reporter in Khost province.