News / Asia

NATO Predicts Decades-Long Battle Against Corruption in Afghanistan

NATO and U.S. officials are pushing hard to reverse a culture of deeply embedded corruption that permeates all aspects of Afghan society, considering it key to establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan. But alliance and U.S. officials are well aware that rooting out graft will be a complicated and long-term process despite spending tens of billions of dollars to stabilize the country.

After decades of war, Afghan analyst Kate Clark says, very simply, corruption is a way of life in Afghanistan that starts at the very top.

"In what other country would you have the defense minister's son having the main contract for one of the main military bases?" she asked.  "In your country and my country that would be illegal, it would not happen, it would be an ethical issue, so why does it happen in Afghanistan?"

Clark compares the Afghan situation to a mafia economy.

"The police and the interior ministry are integral parts of that and, for example, you still can buy posts, so if you want to be in charge of the border, you want to be in charge of the border on a prime opium smuggling route, that costs money," said Clark. "And you have to recoup your money and that means making money out of smuggling opium and it's clear that still goes on."

Italian Carabinieri officer Brigadier General Carmelo Burgio fought Italy's mafia for years.  He is in Afghanistan training the police, and says ridding the country of graft will take years.  

"If we want to fight corruption, we have to use the same methods we are using in Italy" said Burgio. "So we have to push for generation. You want to fight the corruption, you have to change the mentality of this population. Changing the mentality means pushing for 50, 60, 70 years in the same direction in the same motivation."

All aspects of society have to be addressed, adds Burgio.

"You want to fight corruption in this area we  have to change the approach. We need a global approach, a social approach. Every actor in society should be involved in the process," said Burgio, "And when I talk about every actor, I said about religion, family, the politicians... the school, all the actors, not only the judges, the prosecutors, and the police."

Analyst Clark points out that one obstacle is that NATO forces tend to deal with local power brokers.

"You have Afghans on the ground, who see that the foreign military... they thought they were coming in to protect them, they thought the foreigners were coming in to protect Afghan civilians, but actually, they give political support and often big contracts multi-million dollar contracts to the biggest commanders in the area, many of whom have past allegations of serious war crimes or human rights abuses, " said Clark.

Winning the confidence of the Afghan people is at the core of NATO's current strategy for Afghanistan. NATO officials say fighting corruption, or appearing to be doing something about it is part of that strategy, but admit it is a complex task that will stretch over the years to come.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid