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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid