bribery in Afghanistan

The government of Afghanistan has been actively engaged in a war with the Taliban and other armed anti-government insurgents. The success on defeating the insurgent’s is undeniable, however now it is the unapproachable enemy that is keeping the Taliban and other ant-government insurgencies alive. Corruption at this point is giving the Taliban a walking stick as they are on their last legs.

A textbook result of a post-conflict state is corruption, the lack of rule of law and security, are all contributing factors which leads to mass scale corruption. Corruption in Afghanistan is deeply integrated in most Afghan communities. Whether we consider small scale or large scale, corruption is corruption and paves the road for more corruption. Afghanistan, Ranked 174 out of 176 according to the Corruptions Perceptions index, a quick snapshot of the enormity of this silent enemy.

The Kabul Bank scandal manifested itself on the world stage and the international community condemned it. Although President Ghani ordered for another due process to take place, a substantial amount of money is still not recovered. The uncertainty on how secure funds are in banks brings upon grave repercussions. International and continental banks will think twice before lending out more money, international aid can be limited and foreign investors will seldom invest due to the high risk involved. With any high risk investment the return, a worthy implicit charged must be accounted for by the lender which will be passed on to Afghan businesses.

The Governors, ministers and police offices have corruption deeply rooted in them, this week the Joint Anti-Corruption Monitor and Evaluation committee with the Provincial Council leaders requested for new Governors. The Unity government has only introduced 3 new provincial governors and the rest are all from the former President Karzai administration. The acting governors are not being held accountable since they will replaced quite soon. Complaints of customs embezzlement by governors and lack of law and order were two of the many which were surfaced.

Sadly, the attention of the lack of law and order was clearly exemplified in a horrific manner as a woman was abducted for 15 days raped by a group of gunmen. The woman’s set to be husband and her were planning to settle down immediately after they graduated. The man complained to officials, however not much was done to capture the culprits. As a response and to raise awareness on rape cases across the country, he then burned himself in front of Kabul’s Palace. He wrote a letter to his father stating he is dedicating his life for his Afghan sisters and mothers across the country. Still, the amount of media coverage will never equate to the act, it points out a major issue in the country.

Complaining to the police without money or political contacts decreases chances of any recourse or justice to take place. The culture needs reform, a bribe should not be the gateway to move above law.

Corruption illuminates a clear fundamental issue in post-conflict Afghanistan which requires undivided attention. It is present in government, businesses and NGOs, the worst of it all is they offer a venue for anti-government insurgency. The suicide bomber in the Logar police department, officials admit that an individual from the police department was involved.

President Ghani’s agenda is full however if he does not step up on fighting corruption the consequences will be severe. The citizens of Afghanistan must have faith in the rule of law, if the faith diminishes, chaos will return once again. The ANA and ANSF are giving their lives away to an enemy that can strike from within. Taliban and anti-government insurgents are hiding and attacking under the veil of corruption. Until the veil is pierced, insurgency will continue to happen, and arms are common in Afghanistan. The public frustration is mounting up, the lack of a full line up cabinet Ministers and only 3 nominated governors will incline the public to blame the government.

The complexity of the solution can be beyond comprehension because of the all the other issues in Afghanistan.  Moving the country forward, playing chess in foreign affairs and mitigating corruption all simultaneously can be a daunting task.