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MPs re-approve controversial Kabul-Baghdad air services deal

AT News

KABUL: The lower house of the parliament or Wolesi Jirga during their Wednesday’s general session once again approved the contentious Afghanistan-Iraq Air Services Agreement turned down by the Presidential Palace last year.

The agreement, which stipulates that both the countries should provide required facilities for mutual flights, had been earlier endorsed with addition of a condition by the parliament but it was shortly scrapped by the Presidential Palace due to disagreement in this regard.

Lawmaker Abdul Qayum Sijadi said the provision of the bilateral Air Services Agreement forbade Iraqi passengers to carry alcoholic drinks at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

However, the Presidential Palace had denied the additional condition, reasoning that there was no need for it as there already existed another law in this regard.

Sijadi added that discarding this provision by Wolesi Jirga meant rejecting the whole agreement with Iraq.

Another member of the parliament, Nazir Ahmad Hanafi said: “We have devised this agreement in accordance with Counter-Narcotics and Drugs Law. If we reject the additional provision now, it means we are essentially dismissing our own law.”

Moreover, Rahima Jami, another parliamentarian, said that the Counter-Narcotics and Drugs Law prohibited the use of drugs and alcoholic drinks in the country.

The Air Services Agreement – comprised of 24 articles and 2 annexes with the mentioned provision added to it in introduction – between Kabul and Baghdad was approved by the parliament last year.

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