The latest: Well, a new report has been released by the Transparency International on Tuesday which clearly ranks Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban at the 150 position out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2022 with 24 points. What the index really means is that there is no end in sight for corruption in a country desperately needing aid and proper financing.
- The report states that Afghanistan has climbed 24 places compared to 2021 when the country had been ranked 174 of the 180 countries with 16 points. In 2020, Afghanistan had been ranked 165 in 2020 with 19 points.
- The organisation uses the CPI to determine the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries/territories around the world. Transparency International gives countries points from 0 to 100 in the fight against corruption, with Denmark taking first place with 90 points.
- The report states that corruption is also a threat to global security, and countries with high CPI scores play a role in this. “Unsurprisingly, most countries at the bottom of the CPI are currently experiencing armed conflict or have recently done so. Dealing with the threats that corruption poses to peace and security must be a core business of political leaders,” it added.
Why it matters? Corruption in Afghanistan is a widespread and growing problem in Afghan society. Eve during the final months of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as the Taliban advanced on the capital, the elected government struggled to reassure its US patrons that it could maintain control. Smugglers were illegally carrying hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and gold out of the country with the assistance of officials from within the Afghan government, according to internal government documents and former Afghan officials.
- The corruption plaguing the Afghan government was no secret. It is mentioned repeatedly in the final report of the US Afghan Study Group and investigations by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
- Even, the UK’s Independent Commission for Aid Impact found that money sent to the country before it fell to the Taliban in August last year was spent on plans for nation-building and security that were not “realistic.” Around £252 million ($305 million) was sent to Afghanistan in aid for police operations, as part of more than £3.5 billion in aid sent in total, which, the ICAI said, had funded “police corruption and brutality, including extortion, arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings.”
- Theft of equipment purchased with British aid money was common, and police forces would routinely register “ghost officers” on their payrolls. There were also frequent reports of police officials using their positions of authority to sexually abuse young boys.
Back story: One other major corruption cases was the 2010–13 Kabul Bank financial scandal involving Mahmood Karzai and others close to President Hamid Karzai. The Kabul Bank scandal was when insiders were allegedly spending the bank’s US$1 billion for their personal lavish living style as well as lending money under the table to family, friends, and those close to President Hamid Karzai and Mahmood Karzai.
- In fact, former Afghan President Hamid himself admitted that he had a hand in the corruption that took place in his country during his tenure, and also highlighted that the United States was involved in the corruption in question. “[I take] full responsibility for the corruption and bribes in the delivery of services… But the big contracts, big corruption, in hundreds of millions of dollars or millions of dollars, was clearly a United States of America thing,” Karzai told The Washington Post.
- Then, recently, a senior official in Ashraf Ghani’s administration had said that the former president had a history of failing to act against smuggling as he had overlooked a money-smuggling case in 2020, when smugglers were caught attempting to move millions of dollars through a northern province.
- And, even, Mike Pompeo’s new book, Never Give An Inch, revealed that both Afghanistan’s former president, Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah “led cartels that stole millions of dollars in aid money from the United States.” He added that one of the main reasons for collapsing the entire political system was the high level of corruption and the “crooked system of patronage in the country.”
Take note: The report by Transparency International also stated that Finland and New Zealand close in at the second and third place with 87 points each. Somalia has been reported as the most corrupt country in the world with 12 points.
- In the report of this organisation, it has been stated that most countries have failed in their fight against corruption and two thirds of the countries have less than 50 points. Twenty-six countries got the lowest score and 155 countries have not made significant progress in the fight against corruption.
- Among the recommendations suggested, the report emphasised that there has to be a system of checks and balances and promote separate of powers, sharing of information and combat transnational forms of corruption.