Afghanistan: Corruption Increasing in Afghanistan since US Invasion

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

When it comes to governing this violent, fractious Afghanistan, everything, it seems, has its price. Want to be a provincial police chief? It will cost you $100,000. Want to drive a convoy of trucks loaded with fuel across the country? Be prepared to pay $6,000 per truck, so the police will not tip off the Taliban.

Need to settle a lawsuit over the ownership of your house? About $ 25,000, depending on the judge. Kept afloat by billions of dollars in American and other foreign aid, the government of Afghanistan is shot through with corruption and graft. From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of President Mr. Karzai himself, the state built on the ruins of the Taliban government seven years ago now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.

A raft of investigations has concluded that people at the highest levels of the Karzai administration, including President Karzai's own brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, are cooperating in the country's opium trade, now the world's largest. In the streets and government offices, hardly a public transaction seems to unfold here that does not carry with it the requirement of a bribe, a gift, or, in case you are a beggar, whatever you have in your pocket.

The corruption, publicly acknowledged by President Karzai, is contributing to the collapse of public confidence in his government and to the resurgence of the Taliban, whose fighters have moved to the outskirts of Kabul, the capital.

"All the politicians in this country have acquired everything money, lots of money," President Karzai said in a speech at a rural development conference here in November. God knows, it is beyond the limit. The banks of the world are full of the money of our statesmen."

The decay of the Afghan government presents new US President Mr. Obama with perhaps his most under appreciated challenge as he tries to reverse the course of the war here. Mr. Obama may be required to save the Afghan government not only from the Taliban insurgency committing thousands of additional American soldiers to do so - but also from itself.

"This government has lost the capacity to govern because a shadow government has taken over," said Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister. He quit that job in 2004, he said, because the state had been taken over by drug traffickers. "The narcotics mafia state is now completely consolidated," he said.

On the streets here, tales of corruption are as easy to find as kebab stands. Everything seems to be for sale: public offices, access to government services, even a person's freedom. The examples mentioned above $25,000 to settle a lawsuit, $6,000 to bribe the police, $100,000 to secure a job as a provincial police chief were offered by people who experienced them directly or witnessed the transaction.

People pay bribes for large things, and for small things, too: to get electricity for their homes, to get out of jail, even to enter the airport. Governments in developing countries are often riddled with corruption. But Afghans say the corruption they see now has no precedent, in either its brazenness or in its scale. Transparency International, a German organization that gauges honesty in government, ranked Afghanistan 117 out of 180 countries in 2005. This year, it fell to 176.

"Every man in the government is his own king," said Abdul Ghafar, a truck driver. Mr. Ghafar said he routinely paid bribes to the police who threatened to hinder his passage through Kabul, sometimes several in a day.

Nowhere is the scent of corruption so strong as in the Kabul neighborhood of Sherpur. Before 2001, it was a vacant patch of hillside that overlooked the stately neighborhood of Wazir Akbar Khan. Today it is the wealthiest enclave in the country, with gaudy, grandiose mansions that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Feroz Ahmed Bawany goal is to increase my knowledge and to understand the only civilized creations of Almighty Lord are HUMAN. He is a regular contributer to TRCB.com.

 

Grow your Social Media Friends at OpenNetworker.com

Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 636
  • |
  • Total Views: 256
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>