In its 2011 Corruption Perception Index Report, the Transparency International, a renowned global civil society organization working to fight against corruption, placed Afghanistan at the very bottom of the list of the most corrupt countries, preceding only Myanmar, North Korea and Somalia. Afghanistan, of 183 countries that were ranked according to their perceived levels of public-sector corruption, stood at 180th position.
Previous indexes also showed highly disappointing picture of corruption level in Afghanistan. Despite efforts to stamp out graft in the war-torn nation, Afghanistan came near the top of the global list. The subject of anti-corruption initiatives in Afghanistan remains highly disappointing and irritating.
The enigmatic mission dates back to first years of government under president Karzai. It has disappointed afghan public and the international observers. Shortly following afghan presidential elections two years ago, the international community put emphasis on fighting corruption in afghan government administrations. President Hamid Karzai was put under pressure to cut down the administrative corruption level or else the world's financial aids will be decelerated.
Having felt the dilemma, the president has times and again promised Afghanistan allies to embark on fighting corruption. In the recent Bonn Conference II, President Karzai told delegates from around a hundred countries and organizations that corruption would be targeted in his government agencies to increase transparency and effectiveness of aids spent.
He said he will put the issue in the forefront of discussions and will take further steps to explore the common reasons causing corruption to spread all across the government institutions. However, Afghan president sometime comes out fighting against calls to crack down on corruption, arguing that his government is not solely to blame.
Speaking at an event sponsored by the United Nations to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday, President Hamid Karzai blamed foreigners for the corruption of Afghan officials. The New York Times reported wrote on Monday, "Several Western diplomats and officials working with the Afghan government said they were disappointed by Mr. Karzai's speech, in which he appeared to again shift much of the blame for corruption to foreigners. While foreigners are unquestionably involved in some of the corruption, they shared responsibility with the Afghans and were only peripherally involved in the Kabul Bank debacle".
Acknowledging the fact that the development process in Afghanistan is weakened by widespread and rife corruption and that Afghan government has played a role in that, afghan government officials believe the United States and its partners have also not done well in the process.
They have mismanaged and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on overpriced, ill-planned reconstruction projects. Taking a glimpse at the harsh reality in Afghanistan and the increasing corruption level, one can say afghan government and the international community, for survival of their plans, need to get beyond the rhetoric and easy headlines and honestly embark on fighting domestic and foreign corruptions in the post-Taliban processes.
It is, of course, a huge blow to the government failing to improve its position in the CPI a decade later than it came to power. Despite some slightly productive steps and establishment of sterile anti-corruption commissions, the government has ignored public calls to implement the reform process in the top level administrations.
The country's position in the CPI will remain unchanged unless there is enough political determination to fight corruption and ignore the fatal political expediencies. Verifying this very fact, Chief of Anti-corruption body said Sunday, for winning the fight against corruption, Afghanistan needed the political will. Anti-corruption activities will prove exhausting and will reach no destination unless the government holds enough political will to fight it.