Corruption makes Afghanistan almost unfixable, says US report

The United States contributed to the growth of corruption by being too slow to recognise the magnitude of the problem as it injected tens of billions of dollars into the Afghan economy, the report says.

KABUL // A report by the US government released on Wednesday said that widespread corruption in Afghanistan has undermined efforts to rebuild the country and urged the US mission to make anti-corruption efforts a top priority.

The US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar ) said corruption aggravated grievances against the Afghan government and channeled material support to the insurgency.

The US, meanwhile, contributed to the growth of corruption by being too slow to recognise the magnitude of the problem as it injected tens of billions of dollars into the Afghan economy, said Sigar.

The report, titled: Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the US Experience in Afghanistan, suggested the US government should have viewed anti-corruption as an essential part of its goals after the 2001 US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The Sigar report quotes former US ambassador to Aghanistan, Ryan Crocker, who said, “The ultimate point of failure for our efforts wasn’t an insurgency. It was the weight of endemic corruption. The corruption lens has got to be in place at the outset, and even before the outset, in the formulation of reconstruction and development strategy, because once it gets to the level I saw . it’s somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix..

Mr Crocker re-opened the US embassy in Kabul soon after the attacks on the Twin Towers of September 11, 2001 and served again as ambassador in 2011-2012 .

The report further noted that US policies and practices were partly to blame for the growth of corruption. In 2009 and 2010, the emerging concern was that poor US supervision, procurement, and contracting practices were enabling corrupt behaviour, it said.

Without sufficient controls on US funds, millions of dollars in US reconstruction funds for Afghanistan were being wasted.

“In Afghanistan today, corruption remains an enormous challenge to security, political stability, and development,” Sigar said.

* Associated Press

Published: September 15, 2016 04:00 AM

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