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Editorial: Corruption a great shame

Corruption has many forms and manifestation. With great wretchedness, corruption in Afghanistan is endemic and has infiltrated into all parts of the state, adversely affecting the ability of the Afghan government to maintain security and deliver basic public services. It also becomes public now, and increasingly embedded in social practices. Regrettably, patronage politics and bribery become an acceptable party of daily life, and this continues despite immense pressure by the international community, especially the donor countries. Establishing various anti-corruption bodies also failed to deal with this stark reality that diminished the reputation of Afghanistan in the world. According to the Corruption Perception Index 2019 of the Transparency International, Afghanistan is one of the top corrupt countries out of 180 countries. 

Very confused how this ashamed practice of corruption finds its origin in the Afghan society. Once the Afghan masses were ashamed of taking bribes or to be involved in sorts of corruption. However, after passing each day, this has become normal practice, even for the high-profile politicians, elites, ministers, deputies, directors, and other low-level staff. Private sectors are no exception. So corruption is everywhere that has ruined the entire infrastructure. It could be more rational to see the link between different types of corruption with inequality – injustice, poverty, and insecurity is also due to corruption, even the worsening security situation has a direct link to this illegal act. The level of corruption could not be better explained rather than to see the recent data of the government which indicates 15 million population of Afghanistan are living under the poverty line. Sadly, half of the inhabitants are scrambling for daily needs. This is heart-wrenching. Despite the flow of billions of dollars in aid in the past 19 years, millions of people are still going to bed with empty stomachs.

The government must translate its promises to action and take immediate and extensive efforts to fight corruption in the relative organs. The ordinary Afghans want change in Afghanistan. They want an end to corruption and a commitment to security. This is not too much to ask; rather this is their right to ask. It strongly believes that the billions of foreign aids that come to Afghanistan are lost to corruption. This must be stopped. The government can deal with corruption if it introduces merit-based appointments of judges and independent judicial services commission, and also establish an independent and well-resourced anti-corruption agency that is based on the United Nations Convention against corruption framework and involves civil society. And the most important step toward elimination of corruption is that all senior civil servants, politicians and senior staff in executive, legislative and judicial sectors must publish asset declarations – it should be verified and monitored to ensure that no one is using their position of power for personal enrichment. This is the best and simple way to fight the menace of corruption. 

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