Corruption The Achilles' Heel of Afghanistan
Van Wagoner, Jarad
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"Recently, in Afghanistan's deep south, a senior Taliban commander has yet again eluded the Afghan government, U.S. and coalition forces. This was done not through force of arms, superior knowledge of the terrain, or foreign assistance, but through corruption. For a measly US $15,000, an Afghan National Security Directorate official gave the commander his freedom and the ability to strike at Afghan government and coalition forces yet again. Sadly, this marked the third occasion this commander had bribed his way around justice.1 Despite the successful removal of the Taliban in 2001, followed by democratic elections in 2004, the government of Afghanistan continues to fight for legitimacy. Since 2003 the Taliban and other anti-government groups have managed to stage an effective insurgency against both the Afghan government and their international partners.2 As the security situation has deteriorated across the southern and eastern portions of the country, the legitimacy of the government has become increasingly dubious. Counterinsurgent operations conducted jointly by Afghan and ISAF/US [International Security Assistance Force/United States] forces have struggled to restore security and shore up popular support for the government. These important legitimizing efforts, however, are rendered near useless in the face of rampant corruption throughout the body politic of Afghanistan."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (January 2008), v.2 no.1
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