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IMF Cites Afghan "Capacity" After Bombing, Disappointed in Congress

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 23 -- A week after the International Monetary Fund's resident representative in Afghanistan Wabel Abdallah was among those killed in the Kabul restaurant bombing, Inner City Press asked the IMF if after the killing there are or will be any changes in or impacts on the IMF's programs in the country.

  IMF spokesperson William Murray, at the Fund's bi-weekly media briefing, answered that "I can't draw a straight line from what happened last week to the status of the program.. at this juncture. Program implementation has been mixed, due to capacity and program ownership. A mission visited in September for 2013 Article 4 discussion. We have ongoing discussions on the second and third review of our program." He did not describe the status.

  The UN with its UNAMA mission in the country would be impacted by the BSA negotiations between the Obama Administration and the Afghans, but won't comment on it. This week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acted on US concerns expressed about his having invited Iran to the Syria talks in Montreux.

  Some note that while the IMF has at time been view more clearly as an extension of US policy, the UN bent even more automatically, overnight. The IMF by contrast this month expressed disappointment with the US, if only with Congress for not approving funding needed for the IMF's quota reforms.

  On Iran, the IMF's Murray described an Article 4 visit to begin January 25. Inner City Press asked two Africa question which have yet to be answered by embargo deadline:

On Malawi, what is the IMF's comment on the donors' grouping "Common Approach to Budgetary Support" not resuming aid even after IMF resumed its program, in light of the so-called Cashgate corruption scandal?

On Zimbabwe, what is the IMF or its Staff-Monitored Program's response to the country saying its external debt is $6.1 billion, not $11 billion as IMF said?

  Zimbabwe is among the countries NOT invited to the Obama administration's Africa summit in August -- along with the also IMF-relevant Egypt. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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