Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Efforts to Control Graft

As the concerns regarding corruption in Afghanistan are getting serious, the European Union (EU) Delegation in Afghanistan has launched a campaign against it, known as 2016 Anti-Corruption Campaign. This campaign is aimed at helping Afghan citizens fight the scourge and mobilizing government to take stronger action.
The campaign is planned to run for seven weeks and would culminate with a high-level conference in early May. A statement issued during the launch of the campaign by the EU in Afghanistan says, “Afghanistan’s endemic corruption is crippling the economy and undermining the fight against the insurgency. This threatens past achievements and investments in Afghanistan as well as the future of all young Afghans… The campaign will focus on four themes: Corruption and peace; corruption in the judicial sector; natural resources and stability – the threat of illegal mining; and public action against corruption.”
Meanwhile, EU Special Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin, attending the campaign launch said, “Every day ordinary Afghans are confronted with corruption’s dark shadow that fills the pockets of the rich while the poor suffer. It undermines the Afghan people’s hard-won achievements over the last 14 years, and it is a primary threat to the sustainability and survivability of the Afghan state… The government can and should do more, but government action cannot stand alone. Every Afghan should take personal responsibility for ending this scourge. This includes refusing to benefit from the corruption of others. This is why the campaign will also focus on how ordinary citizens and media can confront and expose corrupt practices.”
Afghanistan is one of the countries largely influenced by the menace of corruption. It has, in fact, penetrated deep within different institutions in the country and has crippled the overall systems. Afghanistan has, therefore, failed to deliver maximum at the time when the development has been required the most and, in the process, has also lost some golden opportunities. Corruption has been lethal enough to annihilate the efforts or the plans to reconstruct the country and the different systems that may set it on the way to development. It should be noted that billions of Dollars poured in the country for both military support and development projects. But if we analyze the socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the country the development does not seem as great as it should have been. Most of these aids were devoured by corruption instead of being spent for the intended purposes. Either the money that was to be spent through government or the NGO sector, both the ways corruption had the largest share.
An annual study of Transparency International for 2015, earlier in the year, also revealed that Afghanistan is ranked the second most corrupt countries among 176 in the world. This is really tragic and shows that no considerable work has been done against corruption though it has been highlighted as a major problem throughout the last decade. And, it has had negative influences as well; particularly in the top governmental institutions. Corruption not only dominated the elections but also haunted the Kabul Bank and brought bad name to the nation and at the same time financial loss; however, it has been left to dominate with vigor and strength. It has, in fact, victimized our society more than terrorism and insecurity and today if Afghanistan is not able to stand on its own, it is also because of the corruption.
The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) last month blamed leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) for failing to deliver on their promises to fight corruption in the country. With the change in government, there were some hopes that the situation would get better as National Unity Government (NUG), in its early days promised to handle corruption with iron fists; however, that does not seem to be happening even after so many days have passed. Afghanistan still stands among the most corrupt countries in the world.
There seems to be no doubt in the fact that one of the basic reasons of the persistent rise in corruption in Afghanistan is the lack of commitment and honest efforts to control and eradicate this menace. Neither the previous government, nor the current government has shown real efforts to face it seriously. Therefore, the serpent has survived and has become reckless and out of control. In fact, it would now require a bold step to stand against it as it would, definitely, devour wholly the person who may confront it.
It is a real challenge now for the Afghan government to stand against it. However, a solid and dedicated effort against it can make a difference. It is not altogether impossible to defeat it. Definitely, strict measures are required, temperaments would be tested, institutions would be questioned, the powerful would have to be threatened, and more responsible attitude would be expected from all the people; in short, the whole mechanism would be shaken if there are real and honest efforts. And, it should be noted that there is no alternative for Afghanistan. The way it is going on leads to chaos and instability. If it has to change its route it must decide now and act accordingly.