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Lift ban on sending workers to Afghanistan: Nepalese probe team to govt

Nepal workersAT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: A team of fact-finding of Nepalese government that visited Afghanistan to do inquiry after the attack on Nepalese security guards in June, has recommended for lifting ban on sending Nepalese workers to the Afghanistan, until they get adequate security cover.

This may prompt the Nepalese government, which imposed blanket ban on sending workers in Afghanistan along with Syria, Libya and Iraq after the attack, to lift the ban. However, officials said no decision has been taken regarding the issue following the recommendations, Xinhua reported.

“I have received the report of the fact minding mission recently and I have submitted it to newly appointed Minister Surya Man Gurung,” said Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE). “Once the Minister studies the report and further action will be decided thereafter.”

Abha Shrestha, joint secretary of the ministry, who was part of Nepali’s fact finding mission, said that recommendation of lifting ban on sending workers in Afghanistan was made as per the wish of Nepalese working in the war-torn country.

“We interacted with over 2,000 Nepalese people working in different camps in Afghanistan during our visit,” she said. “More than 99 percent of them suggested for lifting ban.”

The team also recommended that Nepalese workers provided minimum wage of 1000 U.S. dollar. “During our interactions, we found that Nepalese are receiving wages from 850 U.S. dollar to 3500 U.S. dollars,” said Shrestha. The team also recommended for ensuring insurance coverage for Nepalese workers.

Even before the latest ban was imposed, Nepal was permitting to send workers to Afghanistan to work only inside the green zone. The Nepal government does not have exact number of its citizens working in Afghanistan.

In the last fiscal year 2015-16 that ended in mid-July, a total of 1,419 Nepalese were permitted to go to Afghanistan, according to Nepalese government’s statistics. Over the last 10 years, about 8,800 Nepalese have gone to Afghanistan after taking permit from the government authorities, according to Ministry of Labor and Employment.

But, the government officials believe more Nepalese have been working in Afghanistan as many enter the country illegally through Gulf countries and most of the Nepalese work there as security guards.

The lifting ban comes when Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 Nepalese security guards in June. The blast targeted their minibus in Kabul.

The attack, which police said was carried out by a suicide bomber on foot, came shortly before 6:00 AM on a main road leading east out of the capital towards the city of Jalalabad. “As a result 14 foreigners were killed, all Nepalese nationals,” the interior ministry said in a statement, adding it “strongly condemns” the attack.

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