Corruption in Afghanistan

It’s being called “Corruptistan.” Afghanistan is choking under graft and embezzlement. Can this war be won, with a government so corrupt?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens during a Peace Jirga in Kabul, June 4, 2010. (AP)

The United States has invested billions in Afghanistan and the war effort there. And corruption has siphoned billions from that effort. “Corruptistan,” the country’s being called, and the problem is now so pervasive – goes so high and wide – that it threatens the war effort itself. 

Serious analysts ask if corruption in Afghanistan is more dangerous than the Taliban — and if U.S. taxpayer dollars are actually funding the Taliban. 

Knock out corruption and you knock out the government.  Then, who are we fighting for?  Leave it, and what are we fighting for? 

-Tom Ashbrook


Matthew Rosenberg, reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He has been covering Afghanistan.

Greg Miller, reporter for the Washington Post. Read his latest article on corruption in Afghanistan, “U.S. Anti-Graft Effort Appears to Miscarry.”

Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He has advised the U.S. military recently on its policy in Afghanistan. His new report on the corruption problem in Afghanistan is: “How America Corrupted Afghanistan: Time to Look in the Mirror.”

More links:

The On Point staff wanted to re-post Tom Ashbrook’s reflection on his travels in Afghanistan, published in the Washington Post just after the 9/11 attacks — and just as our show first began broadcasting on public radio. The article’s themes still resonate.

To read some in-depth reporting on the issue of corruption in Afghanistan, read these two pieces in The Nation by reporter Aram Roston: “How the U.S. Funds the Taliban” and “Congressional Investigation Confirms: U.S. Funds Afghan Warlords.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 6, 2015
Eric Baker, co-owner of the Mo Money Pawn Shop, poses for a photo at the shop Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Phoenix.  (AP)

American gun policy front and center in the 2016 campaigns after the shootings in Oregon. We’ll look at who stands where on guns.

Oct 6, 2015
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake, browses a picture collage of her daughter at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. Alison Shuemake, 18, died Aug. 26, after a suspected heroin overdose. (AP)

American addiction. From prescription painkillers to heroin. The numbers are staggering. Why?

Oct 5, 2015
Singer-songwriter Sara Barielles on the cover of her new memoir, "Sounds Like Me." (Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles goes fully confessional in her new memoir, “Sounds Like Me.” She joins us.

Oct 5, 2015
The newest version of the Apple mobile iOS system allows ad-blocking software on mobile browsing for the first time. (Abdullah Syahbal / Flickr)

Are ad–blocking, bots, and mobile gutting economic viability of the internet? We’ll take a close look.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment. Now, with the House set to vote on a new Speaker on Oct. 25, three would-be party leaders are stepping in to make their case. U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster […]

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »