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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More