Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Corruption Ignored, Deplored In Afghanistan - Jackie Northam

"Corruption, without a question, is a cancer that is eating through our society," says Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan's finance minister from 2002 to 2004.

"The issue of corruption needs to be addressed," Ghani says. "We will not shift from being the second-most corrupt government on Earth to the cleanest in two years. Nobody expects Afghanistan to become Switzerland, but they want to see a pattern, a pattern of regaining momentum that is credible."

That means going after some big names, as Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, indicated in recent comments.

"Ordinary Afghans must be convinced the powerful can no longer use their positions to make them wealthier," Eikenberry said.

Eikenberry pointed to the Sherpur district of Kabul, where, he said, "the appearance of luxurious mansions … many expensive cars parked inside, surrounded by private armed guards, is a very worrisome sign some Afghans are cheating their people while claiming to be in their service. A walk through Sherpur district in Kabul makes this very clear."

'City Of Loot'. The roads in the Sherpur neighborhood are muddy and rutted, but everything else reflects wealth and affluence. Mirrored windows, enormous Greek columns and layer upon layer of gold leaf adorn the homes in this area. They belong to government ministers, warlords, suspected drug kingpins and contractors.

The Sherpur neighborhood is nicknamed "Chur-pour" — a play on words that means "City of Loot." - Listen to the Story

Corruption Ignored, Deplored In Afghanistan : NPR
In Afghanistan, U.S. Success Depends On Karzai : NPR


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