The 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published Wednesday, puts Afghanistan in the list of most corrupt countries of the world. This is no surprise. Corruption has been increasing with the passage of each year in Afghanistan widening the trust gap between people and the government. However, a day after the report was published President Hamid Karza criticized US tactics in Afghanistan, accusing American and NATO forces of contributing to the violence and corruption in his country. "The bigger corruption is the corruption in contracts.
The contracts are not issued by the Afghan government. The contracts are issued by the international community, mainly by the United States," Karzai said in an interview with NBC at the presidential palace. "Now whether this corruption in Afghanistan is an accident, a byproduct of the situation in the past 10 years or is it perpetrated also on purpose is today my main question."
Although President Karzai thinks so, the West has been pressuring his government for not taking any significant measure against the rampant corruption in Afghanistan. Collapse of the Kabul Bank in 2010 is deemed as the greatest example of corruption in Afghanistan in which some high ranking officials were involved.
One admits or denies, corruption has cracked Afghanistan from within. This is because there has been no consistent effort to curb it in the last eleven years. Those who are involved in embezzlement of billions of dollars roam freely inside and outside Afghanistan as their affiliation with certain strong political figures turns out to be heavier than Afghan laws.
President Hamid Karzia's July decree in which he ordered central ministries, prosecutors and judiciary to fight bribery, nepotism and cronyism is counted as the only step of its kind taken to curb corruption in the last decade. In the decree, Mr. Karzai instructed certain key ministries and government bodies to take specific measures for elimination of corruption in them and report within a fixed deadline (in months) to the presidential palace. After nearly six months, it seems like the decree has not been pursued with full vigor and dedication.
It is clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilize the societies and exacerbate violent conflicts, particularly in Afghani society where the impacts contain the coefficient of 2 and 3.
The withdrawal schedule of international troops from the battle ground has already created matters of uncertainties among the major business owners. Furthermore, since the withdrawal of international troop is approaching and the state is still fighting against the silent enemies such as high rate of corruption adds to the uncertainty graphs and prevents the multinational corporations to invest without hesitation in the country.
Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds.
Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims. In order to overcome the corruption challenges, the government is advised to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making. They must prioritize better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.
International community sees corruption a great obstacle to development in Afghanistan and has conditioned transfer of its fund to Afghanistan on the efforts that will be taken by Afghan government to tackle the corruption issue. The time is now. There is need for a political will to fight corruption. The Afghan government must clean itself of corruption and at the same work out plans to control corruption in contracts funded by Western countries.
The nation has long been paying the price of mis-leadership and hosting a war torn country which lacks the basic necessities of human life such as access to healthcare, healthy drinking water and education. Hopefully, the Transparency International report is considered seriously by the decision makers on planning grounds. Hopefully, the report is deemed to be a warning for those who have been misusing their seats of power for enriching their private bank accounts.