Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Government’s Promises and Corruption

One of the factors that have been hampering the international community to support Afghanistan is corruption. So much support and assistance have been provided to Afghanistan but little has reached to the common and deserving people; most has been devoured by corruption. There have been many promises by the government and the relevant authorities but little has been done in this regard. The government, therefore, requires doing something serious about the corruption if it is interested in receiving any support from international community.
There are reports that as the Brussels Summit on Afghanistan is less than three months away, the Afghan government is apparently expediting efforts to define a more robust and coherent anti-graft policy aimed at restoring trust between the country and its strategic allies in order to secure their continued financial, military and moral support in the years ahead. On Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani's deputy spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi assured the nation of government's commitment to fighting the trend by defining more inclusive anti-corruption measures ahead of the Brussels Summit in October. He said that all government institutions are expected to outline their anti-corruption policies at a special meeting on Thursday. Referring to government's counter-corruption strategy, corruption monitoring groups have cautiously welcomed the announcement.
It is not something really different as such promises have been made by the government many times but no tangible action has been taken. Mostly, such steps are taken so as to convince the international community that something is really happening to control corruption in the country but soon after the conferences and meetings, the promises are forgotten and the actions are halted. The different bodies or the organizations that are formed they keep continue receiving funds but show no evident performance.
The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) head, Yama Turabi pointing to the same fact, said in a statement, "The Afghan government takes such initiatives before every summit, but when the summits are concluded, government also stops its efforts and this is not a good approach." There is no way the government can defeat corruption through empty promises and theories. In the last few years, it has grown into a gigantic issue and it has penetrated deep within Afghan society. Almost all the institutions and most of the individuals are influenced by it on daily basis. The Afghan people, so as to get their different tasks done from different government institutions, pay bribes on daily basis. In fact, most of the people think that there is no other way of getting their work done except corruption.
Though in its early days National Unity Government (NUG) made some promises that it would do something regarding corruption but it seems that the promises have been forgotten. Mostly, NUG blames insecurity for the lack of attention towards other issues particularly corruption, but it fails to realize that controlling corruption should be one of the main steps towards improving security. Without defeating corruption or controlling it, it would be really difficult to fight insecurity. Any effort for confronting insecurity would end up in smoke if the intentions, processes and personnel are corrupt and this has been happening in most of the cases. NUG, therefore, needs to understand the link between the two and prepare itself to eradicate the cause first.
It also needs to do the same as far as political and economic stability are concerned. Afghanistan cannot continue its journey towards a politically and economically stable society unless it takes a bold step against corruption. As John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says, "It is true that the governing coalition in Afghanistan remains fragile. As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently testified, in 2016, the Afghan government faces the risk of a political breakdown. But we at SIGAR are convinced that the dangers of letting corruption run rampant are greater than the risk of disrupting the entrenched practices of Afghan officials."
Afghan government, therefore, needs to have a comprehensive strategy in dealing with the situation; otherwise, it would further destabilize the society. Corruption basically generates a sort of injustice within the society and adds to the grievances and difficulties of the people. Those who deserve are not awarded because of corruption and they ultimately take steps to make up for their rights through illegal ways. The large bulk of assistance that were given and received in the name of the poor and needy people of Afghanistan, never reached them and their lives still remain miserable. Finding government officials gaining advantages that are meant for the poor people, make the people question the legitimacy of the government and they, ultimately, decide to join the opposing forces. 

With the rampant corruption threatening the stability, security and legitimacy of Afghan society, there is no other option for the Afghan government to take quick and effective measures to control it, while US must make serious efforts in this regard as well. Otherwise, expecting any progress without curbing corruption would be nothing more than a day dreaming.