AT-KABUL: The European Union Special Envoy has termed corruption as Afghanistan’s gravest challenge, and said the level of bribery, obstruction and nepotism keeps increasing and deprives ordinary citizens of access to public goods and services.
The European Union Delegation for Afghanistan said in a press release on Tuesday that Afghans now rate corruption as the nation’s second biggest problem and the government should address the endemic graft immediately.
“It is imperative that the international community speaks out against corruption in Afghanistan. Corruption fills the pockets of the rich and powerful, while the poor starve. It stops creation of jobs and investments from coming in. Corruption undermines the legitimacy of the Afghan state towards its own people and helps feed insurgency,” said the European Union Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation to Afghanistan, Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin.
According to Integrity Watch, Afghans now see corruption as the second biggest problem after insecurity.
“The extreme level of corruption threatens international support to the Afghan nation and is an increasing concern to the European Union. We are a long-term friend of Afghanistan and the Afghan people. We are here for the long haul and we have pledged to continue our exceptional level of financial assistance until at least 2020. But we – as well as many other donors – have expectations. One is that the Afghan Government, together with the European Union and other international partners immediately begin to cure the endemic corruption. We stand ready to work with President Ghani, who recently referred to corruption as a national shame. It is important for us to know that the money we invest goes into the right pockets,” said Ambassador Mellbin.