A recent report from Integrity Watch Afghanistan has found that corruption is steadily on the rise in Afghanistan. National Corruption Survey 2010 reports that the Afghan population paid twice as much in bribes in 2009 as it did in 2006: today bribery represents “a burden of 1 billion USD on the Afghan GDP.”
The massive, widespread corruption within Afghanistan, specifically at the governmental level, has caused Transparency International to rank Afghanistan 179th out of the 180 countries on its index of perceived corruption.
According to a July 8th, 2010 article on CTV, corruption permeates every aspect of life in Afghanistan. The high level of corruption seriously undermines the Afghan government’s perceived legitimacy with the Afghan public. By contrast, the Taliban, although by no means widely popular themselves, have developed a reputation for being free of bribery and efficient:
Corruption is the known and open wound in Afghanistan that has been exacerbated by billions of dollars in foreign aid that has flowed into the country for years. Studies show less than half of every development dollar actually reaches a project.
Allegations that senior Afghan officials are embezzling government funds and transporting them to offshore accounts recently led the U.S. Congress to vote to cut $4 billion in aid to the Afghan government.
Janis Mackey Frayer, “Corruption: an industry and a culture in Afghanistan,” CTV News, 9 July 2010
National Corruption Survey 2010, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, July 2010
Graphic: Mike Licht