Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Corruption; Main Barrier to Development

Corruption is endemic throughout Afghan society.  President Ghani has made specific measures to tackle systematic corruption in the country. As a result, the government has seen some success in reform of procurements and customs. Afghan government, in 2016, opened the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) to investigate and try corruption cases.  Afghan President unveiled the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) in September 2017.
However, corruption remains as the top strategic threat to the legitimacy and success of the Afghan government.
In every society and community, there are certain behaviors, which are very much detested in the course of interpersonal relationships, and group behavior. The behaviors include cheating, lying, etc. These behaviors which have moral, ethical, legal and religious implications are detested because they are inimical to proper and decent standards. The pattern of that encapsulates all this detested attitude is corruption.
Corruption is a household name in every society nowadays and the negative impact it has on the socio-economic and political setting of a country can hardly be over emphasized. There has been a global cry and coordinated efforts to tackle this social evil through the creation and implementation of anti-graft laws and policies across nations.
Some nations have been successful in their quest to reduce the level of corruption while others are still lagging behind. In this light, Afghanistan seems to be an example of a state that has failed in combating corruption. From the common man in the street to the highest political figure, corruption is recurrent in almost every transaction in the Afghan society.
Within the last one decade, the issue of corruption and good governance has taken the center stage in development discourse worldwide. Corruption is shaking the foundation of the nation as there is no sector that is not affected by this monster. The challenges of corruption remain a major devastating issue facing Afghanistan, although, this phenomena has become a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system.
As a result, over the years, public sector in Afghanistan has been characterized largely by ineffectiveness and inefficiency. The situation is the same in some other Asian countries too. High-level corruption has been identified as being responsible for Afghanistan’s insecurity, underdevelopment and growing crimes rates. It is instructive to note that the Afghan government and citizens have not totally committed themselves to introducing and implementing measures that can prevent or drastically reduce the extent and consequence of corruption in the country. That is not to say that laws, institutions and programs for controlling corruption have not been introduced by successive governments. On the contrary, every Afghan government has introduced elaborate laws and programs, only for officials to turn such programs into fertile opportunity for corrupt practices and enrichment. Consequently, there has been a geometrical growth in the rate of corruption in the country. It is also claimed that corruption is the source of many socio-economic and political problems that have militated against the attainment of economic development, equity, social justice, political integration and stability as well as democracy in the country. The employment, promotions, postings and deployment processes in the public service are riddled with corruption.
This trend was exacerbated 15 years ago after international coalition forces toppled the Taliban regime. Since then, the world has poured hundreds of billions of dollars to Afghanistan. Most of what was pledged was meant to bring peace, stability, build and rebuild institutions that would work for all Afghans after so many years of wars and devastation; instead, much of that money has been wasted. You could even argue that the dangers posed by ISIS and the Taliban, who now control more land than at any point since the 2001 western intervention, are ultimately less damaging than the country’s corruption.
Although the National Unity Government has taken some good initiatives to fundamentally tackle corruption, the situation remains unacceptable as corruption continues to permeate and pervade every facet of national life in Afghanistan.  Without showing a strong will and results, Afghanistan may lose the support of the international community due to widespread corruption in the country.