Living in the Age of Corruption


After the collapse of the Taliban, Corruption has gone from bad to worse, from the time when the United States installed the so-called government despite hundreds and thousands of promises and oaths to get Afghanistan rid of these messes and save its people from injustice and paralyzing criminal warlords but yet no comprehensive actions have been taken to fulfill those promises and turn people’s dreams of justice into reality. Isn’t it amazing!!President Karzai loudly in throng of the people assured his people to take personal steps to end corruption, crime, injustice and to deliver an honest, accountable, and austere government hundreds of time in his speeches.

At the same time, it was September 2003 that Mr. Karzai publically in a debate in New York on Foreign Relations declared that Afghanistan is steeped in crisis that are the main hurdle towards stability and progress. Amongst those top listed crises, he pointed out corruption to be one of those which he said to be the worst threat to the Afghan government and its people. Since then, no active initiatives were taken, the people are angry and complaining about corruption and injustice, yet no critical steps have been taken to at least give a response to people’s questions and complain.

However, in Bonn conference, which was held in 2011, with the presence of all Afghan delegations, major discussion was carried out about the future of this country. In this discussion, they called Afghanistan to be one of the world’s most corrupt nations, according to a global survey. In this regard, they raised the issue of corruption that the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities that need bold concerns and requested from the international community to take serious initiatives towards ending corruption.

All politicians in this system have acquired everything – money, lots of money. God better knows, its almost beyond the limit and man’s thoughts. The increased establishments of big, luxurious and fancy houses in Afghanistan and around the world in the past ten years, all belong to the government and parliament members.

Each one of them has one or two houses in different countries. The buildings are built in Kabul only take few months with the best quality of materials used for the buildings and best standard with different designs. People really wonder how such big amount of money has been earned within ten years to build such big houses in different parts of the region and world!!This has obviously scared and upset the whole nations.

They are getting angry from the government for being such disloyal and dishonest. The people living under old tents in open places are freezing due to cold and lack of health care centers and potable water, how should the rich know that how the life in such condition look like!

In this regard, the international partners requested the Afghan government several times to step up and fight against corruption in return for a sustained and progressive Afghanistan. They focused that the Afghan government institutions must at all levels increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of it’s people and deliver key services to them and put the punching line to the ongoing corruption.

Reports claim that there have been some secret deals and money paid to the government employees by Taliban and other criminal networks in Kabul bomb lasts. As long as the cash follows in the form of bribe, the country’s security situation will remain the worst and its people once again must seek migrations to other countries for their survival as it has been increased in the last couple of years.

Today what worry the people the most are corruption, disloyalty, and dishonesty of the government authorities. What the government and the Afghan partners need to pay more attention on is to combat the corruption from its roots that undermines the fight against the Taliban.

The reports constantly state that the estate built on the ruins of the Taliban regime now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it. Thus, everyone in the government is his own king and boss.

According to Setara Radio in Kabul, a woman in Harat said, “It has been for one month that I daily go to the police station to proceed my case from early morning at 9:00am till 4:00pm but no one pays attention to my complain. Those who pay bribe, their cases have been forwarded within a day, but I have nothing to pay and my case has been only delayed and postponed.”

Such pervasive corruption is the inevitable result of massive bucks being poured in the country for the betterment of this region. The core aim of this aid was to buy allegiance and make commitment towards rebuilding this country and serve this war-affected people.

Unfortunately, for our respectable politicians buying allegiance meant corruption. According to them, it is simply politics. Today the people are very disappointed of the present government, as there is no justice, rule of law, accountability, and transparency in their actions. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.

A United Nations study reported that 60% of Afghans identified to be involved in corruption as the nation’s biggest problem – even worse than the war with the Taliban. The study depicted that Afghans pay million of dollars in bribes to the government officials and others each year – equivalent to almost a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Setara radio’s interviews with the people, say that it is impossible to obtain a public service without paying a bribe.

Objectively speaking, the Afghan government’s corruption issue is getting worse day-by-day if no serious action is taken it will likely paralyze all the fragile progress being obtained in the last ten years after the collapse of Taliban. Good governance is not only to accomplish the demands of other friends; it is government’s sole democratic duty to be accountable to its people and its country.

We have remarkably witnessed the involvement of the international community on stabilizing this nation at any point of time in the last ten years. The international community and the NATO forces in the country have had visible commitments in the areas of governance, security, economic development, and social development, which are truly remarkable.

Now it is about time, our respected government took any initiatives to combat corruption and injustice. Until the government becomes accountable and finishes the corruption, we won’t see a prosperous Afghanistan. The war against corruption is more difficult than the war against Taliban.

The Article First Published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan Group of Newspapers on January 18, 2012.

About samad1986

Abdul Samad Haidari is a poet, writer, teacher and a former freelance journalist, currently residing in Indonesia as a stateless refugee. He is the author of The Red Ribbon He fled his home country at the age of seven and grew up wandering in Pakistan and Iran as a child refugee, and was separated from his family for the majority of his childhood. For two years, at the age of eight and nine, he was forced into child labour in the construction industry in Iran. In contrast, Pakistan offered refugees like him the opportunity to study and work. This education and work experience culminated in Abdul teaching computer studies and English language courses at the Intel Computer Center and Pak Oxford Professionals. After the collapse of the Taliban government, Abdul returned to Afghanistan thinking that the security situation had improved, and that he could take part in the reconstruction of his war-torn country. With this in mind, Abdul served as a freelance journalist and humanitarian aid-worker in areas of the country that remained dangerous to civilians because of the influence of terrorist groups. Abdul served with the Norwegian refugee council (NRC), ActionAid Afghanistan, Daily Outlook Afghanistan group of newspapers, and The Daily Afghanistan Express. As a freelance journalist, Abdul wrote articles and editorials about on-the-ground realities, which were then circulated widely. These had a particular focus on women and children’s rights, corruption, transparency and accountability in government, warlords and terrorist groups’ actions and the systematic persecution of minority groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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