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Exporting Corruption: 3/4 of Afghan Corruption Cases Involve Westerners

Posted by Derrick Crowe on January 12th, 2010

The Afghanistan war is a breeding ground for corruption, and today McClatchy Newspapers reports that it’s not just the corrupt Afghan government that’s feeding at the trough. The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says about three-quarters of its active corruption investigations involved Westerners.

The Associated Press breaks down the numbers:

The U.S. agency overseeing the multibillion dollar Afghanistan reconstruction effort is investigating 38 criminal cases ranging from contract fraud to theft – most involving non-Afghans, officials said Tuesday…Just 10 of the criminal cases under the microscope involve Afghans only, while the rest involve U.S. and other foreigners, according to Raymond DiNunzio, the agency’s assistant inspector general for inspections.

As Ahmed Rashid points out in Brave New Foundation’s Rethink Afghanistan documentary, U.S. and allied-nation official and private corruption helped set the stage for the venality of the Kabul government:

[A]fter 9/11, American and western aid actually perpetrated this kind of corruption. Because this kind of subcontracting that went on, the wastage of aid, the fact that there was this concentration on the security sector rather than on winning hearts and minds in the social sector, all this created a climate of corruption which people in the Afghan govt. immediately latched onto and were the beneficiaries of. And they then perpetuated their own corruption. So you can’t just blame the corruption in Pakistan or Afghanistan on local people and local issues. A lot of it is to do with the very corrupt aid system that provided money and corrupted the local people on the ground.

Learn more about the Afghanistan war.

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  1. [...] Corruption is flowering in the shadow of the Afghanistan war. A new report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reveals that bribery consumes an amount equal to 23 percent of the GDP of Afghanistan. Afghans are forced by corrupt government culture to pay more than a third of their income in bribes. Earlier this month, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported that 3/4 of all their active corruption investigations involved at least one Westerner. [...]

  2. [...] Things you should know about Afghanistan: Bribery is 23% of GDP, and the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says that about three-fourths of its investigations involve at least one Westerner. [...]

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