Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 18th, 2019

Humanitarian Aid Devoured by Corruption

Yet again, the statistics and data show that corruption is among the most dominant problems in Afghanistan. Though itself a problem, it also hampers development and creates many other issues for the people at large. Especially, when the people have required assistance and support the most, this evil has snatched their rights and supported few individuals to satiate their personal greed for wealth and power. Thus, the neediest remain the most deprived in the country.
A study report by Transparency International released on Thursday, April 27, revealed that corruption risks in Afghanistan hamper humanitarian aid from getting where it needs to go. Through in-depth interviews with affected communities and stakeholders, the study found that corruption risks exist in a number of stages within the program cycle of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. Most notable included; negotiation of conditions for access and area selection for programming; inappropriate interference in the selection of beneficiaries; risks of nepotism and ethnic bias in staff hiring; a lack of means to reliably hold corrupt staff and organizations accountable; and a lack of transparent and effective communication and feedback mechanisms with aid recipients. 
The organization thus suggested that strengthening the role of local governance structures to promote transparency and investing in communication with affected communities would strengthen the response of humanitarian aid providers and the integrity of the aid they deliver.
As a matter of fact, Afghanistan has failed to deliver maximum even through humanitarian crisis and in pursuit of development, though the country had the support and assistance of donor agencies and international community. 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 military support, humanitarian assistance and development projects, but if we analyze the socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the country the changes and development do not seem as great as they 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.
It must not be forgotten that Afghanistan is ranked among the 10 most corrupt countries 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 penetrated the different institutions 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, one of the most dominant reasons is the prevailing corruption.
The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) earlier 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 NUG, in its early days promised to handle corruption with iron fists; however, that does not seem to be happening even after the persistence of the issue for such a long time.
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.

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 path that it has chosen leads to chaos and instability. If it has to change its route it must decide now and act accordingly. The government authorities should at least look at the pathetic condition of the poor people in the remote areas. They suffer because of lack of rudimentary requirements of life, and both insecurity and natural disasters victimize them the most. They deserve every bit of the support and assistance that is meant for them. Corruption in this regard is the greatest injustice with them and the country as a whole; therefore, it must be eradicated immediately.