Afghanistan; amid the rampant increase in the COVID-19 cases, faces off its all-weather foe, corruption. the 2018 Transparency International corruption index ranked Afghanistan the 3rd most corrupt country in the world. The shaky system, hit by decades-old war, is not in a position to regulate its retroactive intuitions to contain the pandemic and properly utilize the foreign slash. While, many of the nations in the world have, up to some extent, contained the pandemic, the Afghan government continuously asks for more international aids to combat the epidemic. Among war, mafia influence, ineptness in high ranks, and political instability. misappropriation of aids remains the key symptom of administrative corruption pushing the country into chaos amid the pandemic.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Afghanistan have been granted primarily for the rehabilitation of the war-torn institutions of the country. Of such aids, the United States holds a significant contribution. which is why the US has hired two global auditing agencies, one of them is the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). SIGAR’S major responsibility is to act as a watchdog to figure out if the Afghan government has the capacity to adequately safeguard the funds allotted to it as an aid. Afghanistan’s top rank in the list of corrupt countries put a question mark for the international community whether to further continue the aids. A detailed report published by the SIGAR has raised questions about the efficacy of giving a huge amount of aids directly to a country holding a top rank for being the most corrupt country.
With the international community to continue its aid flow to Afghanistan amid the growing concerns of COVID-29, corruption in the country crosses the fence. On June 11, 2020, a shipment of medical equipment was dispatched to Afghanistan from Turkey. The medical assistance was meant to help Afghanistan fight the pandemic. The medical equipment included 10 ventilators, 10 defibrillators, 10 oxygen regulators, 3 PCR machines, 10 nebulizers and 30,000 COVID-19 RT-q PCR diagnostic test kits, 25,000 N95 face masks and 50,000 surgical and normal masks. The flow of foreign humanitarian aids to Afghanistan is, however, an optimistic note for the country to deal with the epidemic. Notwithstanding, the built-in mafia, instilled in the country, reportedly smuggled 30 ventilators to Pakistan. Those ventilators were donated to the health ministry of Afghanistan and manufactured by Beijing Aeonmed Co, Ltd. This action of mafia has left the Afghans in resentment. a number of social activists went on to social media and started to call upon the government to take immediate action against those involved. But, still, no promising reaction was observed from the relevant bodies.
Not only the recent terminations, that took place in Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has aroused Afghans’ fierce rage against the acting governor of DAB. However, the governor claims the decision to fire has been taken after a rigorous investigation of the terminated staff reportedly accused of corruption. On the other hand, social activists and those suspended are raising questions about the identity of the governor and his efficacy of not being familiar with the national languages. something that could cause the governor grave consequences. Although, it is still unclear, whether the terminated staff was really involved in corruption or not.
The unresolved skirmish in Afghanistan’s main agency (DAB) could ruin the country’s image in the lenses of the donors. The issue opens the door for the continuation of administrative corruption. Given the prevailing trying times caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19, the ongoing standoff, if stays longer, will pull the country into an economic misery both for short and medium terms.
To chase off the current complications, the government is required to take earnest and instant actions. For this, an inclusive committee must be appointed as an onlooker to supervise the transparency of the DAB. The cases of those, fired from their jobs should be rigorously investigated, monitored, and scrutinized. Also, the high-rank officials involved in the issue should be scrutinized to reach a satisfactory conclusion and resolve the matter.
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