Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

The Rampant Corruption in Afghanistan

Yesterday, December 09, was celebrated as the International Anti-Corruption Day around the world. The objective of the day is to highlight the evils that are related to corruption and emphasize on the measures that may prove helpful in putting an end to this menace. Basically, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4). The Assembly also designated December 09 as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.
This year the theme of the Day was ‘United against corruption for development, peace and security’. There is no doubt in the fact that corruption hampers development, peace and security and Afghanistan stands as a clear example. Rampant corruption in the country has hampered development work and given rise to many social evils. It has also fueled instability and supported the insurgents; particularly through drug production and smuggling. It has incapacitated Afghan institutions and made them rely on nepotism and favoritism. The skills and capacities of the talented youngsters have not been utilized and, therefore, the trust and confidence on the institutions have further receded.
Unfortunately, the government has been reluctant to take any considerable measure and resultantly this menace has kept on rising. National Unity Government (NUG), in its initial days, promised that it would play a definitive role in curbing the menace of corruption, but unfortunately, it soon forgot its promises and little has been achieved so far. Therefore, the situation has further deteriorated for the country and raised further concerns. Although the time was ripe for the leadership to carry out honest and determined efforts to tackle the social problems.
The Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), on International Anti-Corruption Day, said its findings showed corruption was the third major challenge after insecurity and unemployment in Afghanistan, as bribery has increased by 50 percent in two years. IWA executive director, Sayed Akram Afzali, presenting 2016 Financial Survey on the occasion said that the organization had interviewed 7,800 people, almost half of them women, as part of the survey, in the capital Kabul and all provinces of the country and the survey shows that nearly 80 percent of people believe that corruption has been on the rise and the situation has deteriorated compared to the past two years. IWA findings show Afghans paid $2 billion in bribe in 2014 and a billion extra, nearly $3 billion, in 2016. This amount of money is equal to the Afghan government revenue it collects from customs and other sources each year, the survey said.
IWA statement also said political will to fight corruption existed but efforts made in this regard had no positive impact on people’s lives and that was why people were dissatisfied with the government.
Today, corruption has penetrated into our social behavior. It is now a part of routine life to be corrupt. From a very minor to the most major matter, we find corruption ruling the roost.
One of the major problems in tackling with corruption in Afghanistan is that the controlling mechanism itself is involved in it. The government that should be on the forefront to curb this menace, itself has been a major contributor in this regard. There have been many major occasions of corruption when current administration has been blamed for being directly involved in the matter. On most of the occasions the government has blamed the Western supporters to be generating corruption in the country. Western allies, on the other hand, have kept on insisting that Afghan authorities must carry out serious measures to curb the overgrowing corruption; however, the outcome is yet to be produced in this regard. The Western allies have spent billions of dollars in supporting the Afghan government and people but the outcomes have not been satisfactory as they have not been very much careful in this regard. And already much of the money has been misused by corruption.
Nevertheless, in the process, the supporters of Afghanistan have lost their trust from the Afghan authorities and are mostly disappointed from what has been achieved after more than a decade of expenditure and hard work.
Corruption in Afghanistan is now a complex phenomenon that requires extensive efforts from both national and international authorities to be comprehended and resolved. Definitely, the anti-corruption institutions, equipped with authority and facilities can be major contributors in curbing it and Afghan government needs to support them appropriately.
International community on other hand must also ensure that the aid they provide through different NGO’s should not be misused. There should be strong control and monitoring mechanism and it should be made sure that the aid money must reach the needy and deserving people of Afghanistan; otherwise, the aid would further deteriorate Afghan society instead of doing it any good.