Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Corruption: A Major Constraint to Economic Development in Afghanistan

Political and administrative corruption continues to thwart economic development and undermine political legitimacy in Afghanistan. Corruption is the main cause of wasting the funds that the international community has provided to Afghanistan since 2001. Some social scholars believe that it is more dangerous that insecurity for Afghanistan; they hold that insecurity is the outcome of wide spread corruption in the country and it nurtures it. The Taliban and other terrorist groups justify their harsh ideology and violence claiming they are fighting against a corrupt government that not only has wasted the funds of the international community but also has wasted the revenues and resources of Afghanistan too. Although the NUG has taken some important actions to curb corruption at the various levels and arenas in the country, they have not brought much noticeable improvements in the perception of the International community and the people of Afghanistan on anti-corruption efforts of the government. On the hand, people consider the government as weakly performing, and they think corruption is still rampant and growing in the country. What is alarming is that the culture of corruption has infected different aspects of public and private widely. Therefore, corrupt culture presents a big challenge to the government and it must be aware of and ready to confront it systematically; especially considering Afghanistan is ranked fourth on Transparency International’s Corruption Index and it is the most corrupt country in the region.
Corruption networks and their impact on the national economy
Corruption is deeply rooted in the in political and administrative system of Afghanistan. Some social scholars believe that the foundation of political and administrative system of Afghanistan has roots in corrupt governance system; as a result it has just nurtured corruption and made the corrupt political and administrative culture institutionalized in the country. From the beginning of modern state in Afghanistan, the country has suffered the absence of a comprehensive system of control and accountability, and it is now evident in every area of public and private affairs of our society. From past to present, corruption and patronage networks have been running our country’s public affairs. And the result of such corrupt practice has been weak performance of government, and the formation of corrupt power blocs which control public resources and opportunities in Afghanistan. For instance, corruption at the civil service has created large numbers of “imaginary employees”. It not only put intense pressure on the state budget while unemployment rates among the Afghan youth remains high but has tarnished the credibility of the government in the eyes of the international community and the people of Afghanistan.  Corruption in the different sectors, especially in the security, energy, construction and education has led to weak quality of service delivery. This trend has caused the Afghans to suffer heavily at the national and sub-national level.
Corruption and its impact on the private sector
Afghanistan has an unfavorable investment environment, not only on account of the volatile security conditions, but also because of the involvement of corrupt and influential figures who impose various illegal conditions on investors in the country. Investors shall pay large amounts of money for facilitation and protection to different sources. Due to these practices not only the international investors do not invest in the country, but also many national investors have taken away their money from Afghanistab and have invested in other countries. Such an environment has led to both weak economy and wide spread unemployment in the country. 
Role of parliament in tackling corruption
Parliament shall be the voice of the people in a democratic country. It can play a substantial role in shaping how a country to be governed by enacting legislation or by monitoring the implementation of the law. However, the majority of the Afghan people do not think the members of Parliament have performed effectively. It has many reasons including some members of parliament are those who jus pursue their personal business agendas and do not advocate for the rights of their constituencies. Also, the weakness and fragility of the parliament internal capacity as an institution has led to weak performance of it. Lack of commitment to accountability is another weakness of the parliament of Afghanistan to perform its role properly. Experts believe that the constitution has provided sufficient tools to the parliament to oversight fighting corruption, but in most cases, such mechanisms have only been used to put under pressure the government officials to compromise with some members of the parliament.
Corruption is a major obstacle to economic development in Afghanistan. The wide spread corruption in Afghanistan has undermined the credibility of the government in the eyes of the people and International community. Corruption in Afghanistan traces back to the corrupt governance system established in the past in the country to ensure the interests of a specific ethnicity in general and a specific family in specific. Afghanistan has taken some initiatives to tackle corruption systematically but they have not led to breakthrough changes in anti-corruption efforts. The main reason behind the failure to curb corruption in Afghanistan is the corrupt political culture; to overcome the corrupt political culture, Afghanistan requires promoting the good governance system at the national and sub-national level.