Govt lifts ban on security guards for Afghanistan

Published On: October 17, 2016 09:00 AM NPT By: Siromani Dhungana  | @siromanid

Ban on others continues
KATHMANDU, Oct 17: Ending nearly a five-month long ban on the employment of Nepali migrant workers in Afghanistan, the government, on Sunday, has decided to allow security guards to work there.

Following the June 20  Kabul bomb attack that left 13 Nepali security guards dead, the government on June 23 had decided to impose a ban on the employment for Nepali migrants in four conflict-ravaged countries - Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

After revising their previous decision, the Cabinet took the decision to lift the ban on October 9, according to Govinda Mani Bhurtel, spokesperson at Ministry of Labor and Employment. 

However, the ban in other conflict-ravaged countries -- Syria, Libya and Iraq -- has not been lifted yet, Bhurtel said, adding that the restriction has been lifted only to work at the Green Zone in Afghanistan. 

The government's decision will pave the way for Nepali migrant workers to work in agencies that ensure basic safety of employees including UN agencies and USA and UK embassies among others. 

He further said that the decision will end the existing trend of going to Afghanistan for jobs through illegal routes. “Outmigration through formal channel helps ensure safety,” he said. 

Earlier, a fact-finding mission led by Aabha Shrestha Karna, a joint secretary, had visited Afghanistan to study whether or not to allow Nepali security guards to work there. The mission had suggested to the government to look into the security measures for those opting to work in those countries.

It had recommended the use of helicopters or bullet-proof vehicles for deploying Nepali security guards, using different routes to the duty stations every day, and increasing the insurance coverage among other facilities for the security guards, according to the ministry source. 

Meanwhile, returnees who were deported from Afghanistan have demanded that the government should set a clear provision to issue labor permits. “At least $1050 per month in salary should be ensured to Nepali security guards,” Bhakta Narayan Shrestha, a deported returnee has said in a statement. 

Currently, at least 10,000 Nepalis have been working in Afghanistan as security guards, according to Ministry of Labor and Employment.

Trafficking issue discussed on BRICS-BIMSTEC summit sidelines

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday met President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena on the sidelines of Goa BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach summit.

They discussed enhancing coordination to check the transit of women for trafficking to third countries, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Of late, police have found that human traffickers have been using Sri Lanka as a new route for trafficking Nepali women abroad. As many as 19 Nepali nationals were rescued from Sri Lanka during the first week of August. All migrant workers rescued from Sri Lanka were female, according to Nepal Police. Trafficked Nepali women workers are mostly taken to Malaysia and other countries where they work as dancers, barmaids or housemaids, according to police. 

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