Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 15th, 2021

Afghanistan Needs Corruption-free System

Afghanistan’s dysfunctional system is frustrating for the citizens. Corruption continues within the government machinery and poverty lingers on despite billions of dollars poured in within the last two decades. There seems no tangible result in the country in economic sector, fight against corruption, and poverty level. The country is still on the top list of the corrupt states since influential figures, politicians, and irresponsible armed men are widely involved in corruption.
Corruption and bribery prevail within the government machinery. A large number of officials and government staff, with few exceptions, are addicted to corruption. One’s legal task is unlikely to move forward if they do not pay bribe. Almost no government department is corruption-free. Officials cannot deny the existence of prevalent corruption within the government.
If you want to see corruption, simply make a traffic disobedience and you will see how easily you can avoid legal punishment through paying the traffic police. Similarly, file a case against someone in the judicial system and you will notice that you cannot win, even if you are right, unless you pay bribe, apply for ID card and the bureaucracy is strictly enforced and will take weeks unless you pay bribe. Just apply for Pakistan’s visa and you will see the police will make you await for months unless you pay them. You may ask what the government is doing, right? But what do you mean by the government? Do you mean the police? The judicial system? Or the legislative system? They are involved in the corruption. For example, some MPs accuse one another of running irresponsible armed networks, police will ask you for bribe on broad daylight, and the same is the case with staff of judicial system. I remember vividly one day a rural man ran to a policeman in the capital and asked him in a very sincere and simple tone to help him in catching the man who picked his pocket. The policeman replied with anger and contempt that it was not his business.
President Ashraf Ghani’s administration could not decrease the level of corruption, not to mention ending corruption. Corruption and lack of transparency were highly prominent even in election system. That is, high-level officials were reportedly involved in electoral fraudulence. Some officials and government staff break the law with impunity, which is an indication of corruption.
The Afghan government made commitments to the international donors on multiple occasions to fight against corruption and asked for their financial supports. But despite billions of dollars poured in within the last two decades, no palpable result is felt and Afghanistan is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world, which is really shameful not only for officials but also for ordinary citizens. The leaders pocket international aid without bringing facilities to the citizens, enforcing law and freeing the system from corruption. The voices raised against the ongoing situation fall on deaf ears.
Geneva Conference on Afghanistan was held this week, in which the international community renewed its financial commitment to the country so as to take it towards the self-reliance. Fighting corruption is one of the targets of the financial support. But many believe that the financial aid by the international community is unlikely to make changes, especially in eliminating corruption, as it failed to bear the desired result within the last two decades despite commitments made by the Afghan government. It is feared that, as a result of dominant corruption within the government apparatus, the financial aid by the international community will be pocketed without bringing any changes to the country.
Afghan citizens view officials with doubt and mistrust since they are knee-deep in corruption and exploitation of their positions. It is a dishonor for the nation when the country is on the list of the most corrupt states in the world. If the Ghani administration does not fight corruption with strong determination, the financial aid of the international community is likely to bring no changes in the country.
Sucking the blood of people must stop now and here and the government has to fight the corruption and bring corrupt individuals to justice. Similar to many other countries, every minister and high-level officials have to explain their achievements and records to the nation at least on yearly basis. They have to show transparently what they did within a year and how they spent the budget. The government has to prove its commitments not only to the international community but also to the nation. I emphasize that despite billions of dollars poured in, even only the capital city is not developed since citizens encounter many challenges such as dysfunctional traffic system, poor canalization for rubbish and waste, lack of electricity and water, etc., all of which are linked to prevalent corruption.