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.