Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

“Liberating” the Women of Afghanistan

August 10, 2010

by Huda Jawad, Dissident Voice,  August 9th, 2010

Time magazine must be experiencing a severe case of amnesia, judging by the cover of this week’s issue which asks, “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan .” At best, this effort by Time is irresponsible slick journalism; at worst, it is one of the most blatant pieces of pro-war propaganda seen in years. The world owes Afghanistan’s women an honest answer as to why we apathetically allow their condition to deteriorate from horrible to simply unspeakable. Instead, Time is willingly deceiving readers into thinking that the condition of Aisha – the woman pictured on the cover – is a product of the Taliban 10 years ago. It is not. Aisha’s scarred face is a heart-wrenching reflection of the state of Afghan women today in the year 2010, and under the absurd assertion of democracy and the presence of thousands of US and NATO troops in the country.

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Is Corruption the Cause? The Poverty Trap

May 21, 2010

By Walden Bello, ZNet, May 20, 2010
Source: Counterpunch
Change Text Size a- | A+ Walden Bello’s ZSpace Page

The “corruption-causes-poverty” narrative has become a standard tool in the hegemonic discourse kit for leaders in some developing countries – where in fact, Waldon Bello argues, it is neoliberal economic policies that are really to blame for poverty. Thailand’s “Red Shirts” are not, however, being distracted by the “corruption” line the World Bank and IMF are pushing, choosing instead to keep their eyes on the prize – the real answer to poverty – replacing neoliberalism with pro-people economic policies.

The issue of corruption resonates in developing countries. In the Philippines, for instance, the slogan of the coalition that is likely to win the 2010 presidential elections is “Without corrupt officials, there are no poor people.”

Not surprisingly, the international financial institutions have weighed in. The World Bank has made “good governance” a major thrust of its work, asserting that the “World Bank Group focus on governance and anticorruption (GAC) follows from its mandate to reduce poverty — a capable and accountable state creates opportunities for poor people, provides better services, and improves development outcomes.”

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Naiman: Our corrupt occupation of Afghanistan

November 25, 2009

By Robert Naiman, ZNet, Nov 25, 2009
Source: t r u t h o u t

Robert Naiman’s ZSpace Page

Is it just me, or is the pontification of Western leaders about corruption in Afghanistan growing rather tiresome?

There is something very Captain Renault about it. We’re shocked, shocked that the Afghans have sullied our morally immaculate occupation of their country with their dirty corruption. How ungrateful can they be?

But perhaps we should consider the possibility that our occupation of the country is not so morally immaculate – indeed, that the most corrupt racket going in Afghanistan today is the American occupation.

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Paying Off the Warlords

November 20, 2009

Anatomy of an Afghan Culture of Corruption

By Pratap Chatterjee, ZNet, Nov 20, 2009

Source: TomDispatch

Kabul, Afghanistan — Every morning, dozens of trucks laden with diesel from Turkmenistan lumber out of the northern Afghan border town of Hairaton on a two-day trek across the Hindu Kush down to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. Among the dozens of businesses dispatching these trucks are two extremely well connected companies — Ghazanfar and Zahid Walid — that helped to swell the election coffers of President warlord Mohammed Qasim Fahim as well as the family business of his running mate, the country’s new vice president, warlord Mohammed Qasim Fahim.

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Karzai says United States wants to manipulate him

September 10, 2009

Tehran Times, September 8, 2009

PARIS (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of denouncing his friends and family in an effort to undermine his own position and make him more malleable.

In a wide-ranging interview with Le Figaro daily, released on Monday, Karzai also condemned a NATO airstrike last week on hijacked fuel tankers, and said he supported a mooted shift in U.S. military tactics in Afghanistan.

Karzai, who is closing in on a first-round victory in last month’s presidential election, revealed strained relations with the United States and said U.S. criticism of his running mate, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, was actually aimed at him.

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Understanding the root causes of problems in Pakistan

June 6, 2009
by Zafar Bangash | Media Monitors Network, June 5, 2009

For a state and society to function smoothly, some basic services must be provided to its citizens: security, decent education, access to healthcare, prospects of a reasonable job and sound economy. Participation in the political process as well as justice are other important considerations for peace and tranquility. Judged by these criteria, Pakistan falls short on each of these requirements. This is not to suggest that there is no security for anyone or that nobody is making money; a tiny minority is making huge amounts of money sharpening differences in society even further. The ruling elites will even point to the fact that only last March, the activist Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was reinstated after an 18-month struggle led by lawyers and the civil society. So what precisely is the problem and why is Pakistan gripped by an endless series of crises the latest of which has been described by some as an “existential threat”?

Pakistan is not one but several societies in which people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicity and languages reside. This is not unique to Pakistan; neighboring India is far more diverse with a cacophony of languages spoken by people of different religions and backgrounds yet it does not face the kinds of problems confronting Pakistan. Why? Pakistan’s divisions are not merely because of ethnicity although this is a contributing factor. It is a society deeply polarized along class lines. Most privileges and facilities are reserved for the tiny ruling minority while the overwhelming majority languishes in poverty and deprivation.

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Puppet President Karzai ‘protecting drug lords’

July 25, 2008

Al Jazeera, July 25, 2008

Afghanistan produced 93 per cent of the world’s opium last year [AFP]

A former senior US anti-drug official has accused Afghanistan’s president of playing the US “like a fiddle” and protecting drug lords in his country for political reasons.

Thomas Schweich, who until June served as US state department co-ordinator for counter-narcotics and justice reform for Afghanistan, said Hamid Karzai was impeding the so-called war on drugs.

But the US government underscored its continued support for Karzai on Thursday despite the allegations.

Schweich wrote in an article on the New York Times website on Wednesday that “narco-corruption went to the top of the Afghan government”.

He said the Taliban fighting Karzai’s government profited from drugs, but Karzai was reluctant to move against big drug lords in his political power base in the south, where most of the country’s opium and heroin is produced.

“Karzai was playing us like a fiddle,” Schweich wrote.

“The US would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure development; the US and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get richer off the drug trade,” he wrote.

“Karzai had Taliban enemies who profited from drugs but he had even more supporters who did.”

Schweich also accused the Pentagon and some US generals of obstructing attempts to get military forces to assist and protect opium crop eradication drives.

Nato and US military commanders have been reluctant to get involved in the drug fight, arguing that destroying farmers’ crops would alienate tribesmen and increase support for the Taliban.

Warlord government

Hillary Mann Leverett, a former US National Security Council official for Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera that the US knew that government ministers in Afghanistan, including the minister of defence in 2002, were involved in drug trafficking.

Afghan ministers at that time had little expertise but were appointed because “they were warlords, they were thugs, they represented various ethnic and sectarian constituencies”, Mann Leverett said.

She added that the US government chose to work with them in an attempt to stop Afghanistan becoming a haven for al-Qaeda.

“Instead of funding the warlords we could have funded the UN to have a security peacekeeping force throughout the country.

“Instead we left Karzai without any troops, without any weapons, without any money, without any backing, to the warlords.”

US defends Karzai

Gonzalo Gallegos, a state department spokesman, did not directly address Schweich’s allegations but defended US policy and backing for Karzai.

“Karzai was playing us like a fiddle. The US would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure development; the US and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get richer off the drug trade”

Thomas Schweich,
ex-US state department co-ordinator for counter-narcotics and justice reform for Afghanistan

“We know and understand that there is a corruption issue in Afghanistan but we’re working with the sovereign government,” Gallegos said on Thursday.”President Karzai has shown us through word and deed that he is working with us to help improve the plight of that country.”

Gallegos added that corruption was a deeply rooted problem and solving it would take time.

Drug production has skyrocketed since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

In 2007, nearly 200,000 hectares of land in Afghanistan was used to cultivate poppy – more than double the area in 2003 – and the country produced 93 per cent of the world’s supply of opium, the raw material of heroin.

Karzai says his government is succeeding in the war on drugs and has repeatedly promised his US backers that he is committed to rooting out endemic corruption and fighting the drug trade.

His counter-narcotics ministry says 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces will be poppy-free this year, compared to 13 provinces in 2007.

But in the south, cultivation remains rampant.

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