Pajhwok Afghan News, February 1, 2007

''Replace corrupt governors, police chiefs''

Replace corrupt "mullahs and judges" whose presence in government compromise public confidence

Lalith K. Jha

NEW YORK: A leading US think-tank has asked for "removal of corrupt" governors and police chiefs to bolster people's confidence in the incumbent government in Afghanistan.

The hard hitting report titled, "Creating Stability and Prosperity in Afghanistan and the Region" ( ), by Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination at Princeton University, calls for replacement of corrupt officials with honest individuals at provincial and district levels in large numbers to indicate that the government has turned a new page.

The policy recommendations are a result of discussions that took place at an institute-sponsored conference held in Vienna, Austria, in October last year.

The eight-page summary of the report, released to the media here, recommended exerting sustained international pressure if the Karzai government failed to remove the 12 police chiefs, who were recommended for dismissal by the Police Probation Board. "Those identified for dismissal by the board should not be recycled elsewhere by the government," it said.

"Arresting known leaders of criminal groups, especially those involved in narcotics smuggling, who are closely linked to the government, will also assist in establishing the integrity of the central government," the report observed.

Calling for strong measures, the think-tank in its report urged the government to reform the Interior Ministry to reduce corruption; replace corrupt "mullahs and judges" whose presence in government compromise public confidence and develop an official hiring policy.

"The Afghan government should pursue immediate and cost-effective changes to strengthen the rule of law and rebuild public confidence in the government," the report said, adding it must closely address the issues of ineffective rule of law, poor governance and corruption that threaten to undermine the fragile democracy.

The project addresses the issues of governance and government capacity; energy and infrastructure (specifically transportation and communication links); drugs, narco-trafficking, and narco-terrorism; reconstruction and development including infrastructure, health, and education; freedom of the media; regional power relations; and outside power interests in Afghanistan and the region.

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