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And, yes, I DO take it personally: In Afghanistan, corruption starts at the top
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Friday, November 20, 2009

In Afghanistan, corruption starts at the top


hamid karzai was just sworn in to a second term, so let's take a look at the corruption record so far and see what's likely in store in his coming five-year term...

this is from karzai's official biographer, nick mills, writing in foreign policy...

At the start of his second term, Karzai is under immense pressure from the new governments in Washington and London to grasp the nettle and clean house. But since the day in December 2001 when he was named head of the new post-Taliban government and had the support of the vast majority of the Afghan people, he has shied away from the hard decisions that might have set Afghanistan on a more promising course. I'm not sure if he has it in him to do it now.

this from pratap chatterjee in tomdispatch...
Hamid Jalil, the aid coordinator for the Ministry of Finance, points out that wasting money on unnecessary projects ... has helped to hobble Afghanistan's progress in the last eight years. "The donor projects undermine the legitimacy of the government and do not allow us to build capacity," he says, adding in the weary tone you often hear in Kabul today, "corruption is everywhere in post-conflict countries like ours."

Former Afghan finance minister Ashraf Ghani summed up the whole profitably corrupt system that has run Afghanistan into a cul-de-sac this way. "It's not crazy, it's absurd," he says. "Crazy is when you don't know what you're doing. Absurd is when you don't provide a sense of ownership and a sense of sustainability."

and, in spite of all the damning evidence, the u.s. decides to make nice...
As President Obama nears a decision on how many more troops he will dispatch to Afghanistan, his top diplomats and generals are abandoning for now their get-tough tactics with Karzai and attempting to forge a far warmer relationship. They recognize that their initial strategy may have done more harm than good, fueling stress and anger in a beleaguered, conspiracy-minded leader whom the U.S. government needs as a partner.


The new approach, which one official described as a "reset" of the relationship, will entail more engagement with members of Karzai's cabinet and provincial governors, officials said, because they have concluded that the Afghan president lacks the political clout in his highly decentralized nation to purge corrupt local warlords and power brokers. The CIA has sent a longtime field officer close to Karzai to be the new station chief in Kabul. And State Department envoy Richard C. Holbrooke, whose aggressive style has infuriated the Afghan leader at times, is devoting more attention to shaping policy in Washington and marshaling international support for reconstruction and development programs.

'round and 'round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows...

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