Corruption eats away at Afghan government

Corruption eats away at Afghan government

Among the soldiers, diplomats and aid workers who live in Afghanistan, it is the problem that nobody dares mention.

Among ordinary Afghans, it’s a daily presence, the corruption that is rooted deeply in the Western-backed Afghan government and its appointed officials.

When Afghans are forced by uniformed men to pay large sums of cash in order to travel safely on provincial roads, as they are daily, when their colleagues are arrested and beaten in exchange for ransom payments, when they learn that people pay $150,000 for the job of district police chief in parts of Kandahar province, when entire aid shipments or thousands of police salaries are seized for private use, when world-record heroin exports take place under police watch, everyone in Afghanistan knows where to look.

Others wield power through family ties to the President. The man considered by many observers to be the most powerful and feared figure in the Afghan south is not the Kandahar governor but rather Ahmed Wali Karzai, appointed by his brother, President Hamid Karzai, to represent Kandahar province in Kabul.

A U.S. government document leaked to ABC News two years ago accused him of being the central figure in the region’s vast opium-export market, which produces the majority of the world’s opium and heroin. This week, senior U.S. and British officials said in interviews that they believe he enables, and likely profits from, opium shipments across southern Afghanistan to Iran, and prevents opium crops of those who support him from being eradicated. He has repeatedly denied such accusations.

Corruption has always been a way of life there. This ain’t nothing new.

Yeah, but it’s hard to get potential Taliban recruits on your side when 90% of your aid goes to padding some warlord’s bank account.

The colony’s too far away from the capitol. We just need to relocate our palace to Bagdad, maybe build a courthouse in Kabul.