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Editorial: Feeding on corruption

Corruption in this country is no myth but a living beast destroying the very infrastructure. It is eating the social fabric up. Despite huge claims of the past and present governments, most of the officials still see corruption is a healthy diet to satiate their never-ending greed. The problem is getting even bigger with each passing day. According to a fresh survey, conducted by Pajhwok Afghan News and the EU Delegation in Afghanistan, around 50 percent of the population is forced to pay bribe to resolve their problems in the governmental organizations. The percentage is shocking even for foreigners, let alone Afghans. Afghanistan is the only country on this planet where corruption is at such extreme level.

Top leaders in the country had repeatedly outlined their plans to combat corruption, both at the top and grassroots levels. Unfortunately, the claims remained only claims because the outcome of these efforts is still zero. At some point the magnitude of the efforts itself becomes a question to ponder over. The anti-corruption drive has accelerated only in statements as on the ground situation is getting worse. Ground realities give birth to a fundamental question: Whether the public policymakers and leaders in the power center are reluctant to initiate and accelerate efforts or they are just pretending to fight corruption but actually they are engaged in something purely of political nature. The concerned officials know it very well that ever-increasing corruption is earning bad label for Afghanistan and democracy. Former officials are no exception because they also failed to eliminate corruption. They also had hands in promoting the graft culture because the country has no accountability bureau or active anti-corruption force.

Regrettably, healthy criticism is also discouraged because the high ranking officials take it personal. Such mindset makes it extremely difficult to address the root cause of the problem and restore public and donors trust over the Afghan government. There is no denying to the fact that without autopsy of current anti-graft campaign the authorities cannot bring reforms. Understanding the factors which promote corruption in the country is essential to plug the loopholes. It will be possible when there is accountability. The concept of check and balance shall be promoted to avoid past mistakes and produce desired results.

However, accountability remains only on papers. That’s why most of the time officials only rely on statements to win donations instead of addressing the core issue. Such unhealthy practice will not benefit Afghanistan at all but would pave ground for more issues; certainly, of serious nature.

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