Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Corruption Downing Economic Backbone

Afghanistan suffers the most at the endless bloody conflict. Almost four decades of war have earned nothing except ruins, countless miseries and devastation for poor masses. The year’s long war destroyed economic infrastructures completely and dragged Afghanistan towards annulment. No significant progress has been made albeit elongated international efforts to revive Afghanistan’s economy improve the living standard of people and create greater job opportunities provided that the menace of corruption constantly depleted the rate of progress is minimized. The most prior reason behind the failure to strengthen the backbone of Afghan economy is the severe security problems and deep-rooted corruption.

Reportedly, After Taliban regime the United States dispensed $1 trillion, including some $110 billion in aid aimed at rebuilding one of the poorest countries on earth. Undeniably, Afghanistan’s economy is the worst hit by consecutive quacks of corruption. Unfortunately, Afghanistan corrupt element are not left alone –there are major US organizations who are alleged embezzling fund outlaid to the war torn country. It is confirmed by head of Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko, saying U.S. government is partly to blame for the misused funds. His findings holds, corruption in Afghanistan is the major challenge facing the United States in its reconstruction endeavors. With Washington set to send billions of dollars in fresh aid to Afghanistan despite the military drawdown, the U.S. official in charge of auditing assistance programs said that “it’s not too late” to address the fraud and mismanagement that has bedeviled the 14-year effort to rebuild the country. In the report SIGAR has underlined some US’s fraudulent projects including a compressed natural gas filling station in Afghanistan’s far north costing $43 million to build without assessing the need. Identically a warehouse worth of $36 million was built in the main Marine Corps base in Afghanistan of no use at all. Other programs have suffered from outright fraud. Earlier, SIGAR reported that one current and three former U.S. soldiers had been sentenced to four to eight years in prison by a North Carolina court for their involvement in a bribery scheme in southern Kandahar province that resulted in the theft of more than $10 million worth of fuel. Having had suffered manipulation of authority and resources unquestioned, emboldens the corrupt elements in both US and Afghanistan carry out their evil practices undeterred.

The soaring corruption and lack of accountability in Afghanistan has melted the trust of international community away to openheartedly extending their financial support. The intensifying war with the Taliban and the withdrawal of aid groups and investors has devastated Afghanistan’s economy and sent unemployment soaring to 24 percent. The increasing unemployment has pushed youth to join the insurgency out of economic desperation, that help Taliban expand its footprint deep in the country. Eventually, as long as the problem of security and corruption persist, there seems to be a declining chance of betterment, development and prosperity.  This is a grave state of worsening affair –there is greater likelihood of declining economy, elongating the financial needs of Afghanistan. Seeing at the negligence of government to tackle the peril of corruption hard the already wrecked economy of Afghanistan, the thought of betterment fades away. This is an undeniable fact either government is unwilling or hapless before powerful power abusers –despite the fact, president is apparently showing interest in lodging cases against power abusers.

Formerly, a fraudulence report surfaced when a member of Baghlan provincial council accused the provincial high peace council to have spent more than $13 million as part of government’s peace initiatives since the peace council officially started its activities in the province, which were confirmed to be unsuccessful and much of the money is said to be embezzled but evade accountability. Similarly, the governments formerly launched the ‘Smart City Township’ Project was struck by. Surprisingly, the projects are handed over to those individuals whose fame in manipulating public offices could not be earthed. Reportedly, Khalilullah Ferozi, one of the biggest convicts in Kabul Bank scandal, shares a big part in the project. In the wake of renowned bank scandals and financial embezzlements, the international institutions had lost their confidence, undertaking any consignment with Afghan banks and donor countries hesitant to grant financial supports to poverty stricken country. Seemingly, the government was trying to trial those accountable persons who have manipulated their position of trusted.

Despite these measures the corrupt officials enjoys misappropriating their positions, provided the system of general amnesty to potential power abuser are chained fast to the ground, given number of influential personalities involved in money embezzlement from public offices, heinous crime against citizens and power misuse were given amnesty without being subjected to strict measures entailing answerability. This attitude of government had discouraged new investments with remnants intended to downsizing and withdrawing a dire omen for progress of country needs immediate reversal with practical measures. This implies that the expanding role of government in development has placed some officials in a monopolistic position and has enhanced the opportunities for unlimited administrative misappropriation.