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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

Guests:

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.”

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