Kathmandu: The government’s fact finding mission that went to Afghanistan to study on the attack on Nepalese security guards in June, has recommended the government for lifting ban on sending Nepalese workers to the war torn-country by ensuring that they get adequate security cover.
This may prompt the 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.
As many as 12 Nepalese and two Indian nationals working as security guards in Canadian embassy in Kabul were killed instantly in a Taliban attack on June 20 while another injured Nepalese national died a few days later. Six Nepalese had been injured in the attack.
“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.”
Besides recommending lifting the ban, the team has also suggested to ensure that Nepalese workers work only inside the green zone where United Nations bodies and other diplomatic agencies have presence and the Nepalese workers are also provided shelter at the place where they work.
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 Labour and Employment.
But, the government officials believe more Nepalese have been working in Afghanistan as many enter the war torn country illegally through Gulf countries and most of the Nepalese there work there as security guards.