Ambassador Neumann on Corruption in Afghanistan

Ronald E.Image via Wikipedia

“Corruption in Afghanistan has evolved over the years of war. Senior leaders taking a cut of projects may not be liked but the practice is long standing and has not traditionally sparked enormous discontent. But the years of warfare have produced a much more wide spread corruption in the society. When there is a pervasive sense of insecurity, when officials are not sure their government will continue, wonder whether they may have to flee to exile and lack any reason to believe they will ever enjoy a pension or even a living wage there is every incentive to profit from any position to safeguard themselves, their families and their friends. Without confidence in the future there is no basis for a sense of civic duty. This is the situation we face today. If every corrupt official were fired tomorrow I have no reason to doubt that the problem would shortly reemerge with the new cadre. This is not a counsel of despair. Other societies have emerged from prolonged period of instability. But it is a reminder that change will be slow and difficult and there are no silver bullets on single policy choices that will provide rapid change. In doing so we will have to pay attention also to the frequent assertions that our and other donors aid is fueling corruption through the actions of contractors and their interaction with Afghan subsidiaries.”

Ronald E. Neumann
US Ambassador to Afghanistan ((2005-2007)
Testimony at the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
November 17, 2009