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PAN, February 4, 2009

Afghan government the weakest one: Pentagon

The report said corruption remains a problem in Afghanistan and corrodes the Government's legitimacy.

Lalit K Jha

Hampered by massive corruption and lack of quality leadership and human capital, the Government of Afghanistan is one of the weakest governments of the world, the Pentagon has said in its latest report to the Congress.

"The GIRoA (Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) is one of the weakest governments in the world. It is hampered by pervasive corruption and a lack of sufficient leadership and human capital," said the report prepared by the Department of Defense submitted to the US Congress.

But in a recent op-ed piece in The Washington Post, Sarah Chayes — the former National Public Radio reporter who has lived in Kandahar province since shortly after 9/11 — argued that America’s and Afghanistan’s biggest problem comes from within — our continuing support of a corrupt and abusive Afghan government that’s driving its people back into the arms of the fundamentalists., December 30, 2008

"Afghan Ministries lack resources and are all too often permeated by corruption, entrenched bureaucracy, and weak leadership," said the report "Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan".

"The lack of educated staff with experience in project management constrains the ministries' abilities to implement plans and deliver public services at all levels. Donor assistance to Afghan ministries provides invaluable support in delivering public services but inhibits the development of indigenous ministry staff," it said.

The 103-page report, however, did identify some bright spots in the Afghan Government. "Bright spots such as the Ministry of Public Health, the Minstry of Finance (MoF), and the Minstry of Education serve as models for the direction in which other Ministries need to go," it said.

"Afghan courts suffer from corruption, a lack of trained judges, a lack of competent staff and a lack of resources. Security is another key issue for the Justice system in Afghanistan," it said.

In September 2008 the Chief Judge of the Central Narcotics Tribunal (CNT), a national level narcotics court, was murdered. The U.S. continues to support the judicial system in Afghanistan by training judges and staff, providing material support, and educating the Afghan populace as to its rights under the constitution.

Progress has been made in the Afghan Courts, the report said. From January to June 2008, the CNT ruled on 125 cases, finding a total of 151 people guilty and acquitting 52. The Appeals court ruled on 118 cases, finding 160 people guilty and acquitting 29. In June 2008, the National Justice Program, the strategy to build Afghanistan's Judicial System, was approved by the Attorney General's Office, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and the Supreme Court.

The report said corruption remains a problem in Afghanistan and corrodes the Government's legitimacy. Between April and September, 2008, the Afghan government announced measures to fight corruption. Following the recommendations of a high-level government commission, two new anti-corruption entities were established, the High Office of Oversight, an independent oversight unit, and a special anti-corruption investigative unit within the Office of the Attorney General.

The National Assembly also passed a new law on monitoring and corruption. However, public corruption remains pervasive in Afghanistan and the GIRoA is widely viewed as extremely corrupt among the Afghan populace. Furthermore, this corruption undermines international reconstruction and development efforts.

Category: Warlords, Corruption - Views: 9962


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