National Interest, 28 June 2017
Article extensively references AAN’s recent dispatch on the need for reform in the Ministry of Interior:
To an American audience, it is sometimes difficult to grasp how Afghan government corruption prevents U.S.-allied forces from defeating the insurgency. A few key examples will serve to illuminate the gravity of the situation.
The most visible face of the Kabul government to the people are the police forces, more so than the army. As has been painstakingly detailed by the Afghan Analysts Network (AAN), the various divisions of Afghan police have been and continue to be deeply infiltrated by corruption. In too many cases, positions of leadership are purchased, not earned through merit.
An AAN study by Kate Clark released earlier this month revealed that those who purchase their positions have to recoup the investment, and “almost inevitably, [that] means police involvement in crime, including racketeering and drug smuggling, and/or making money from the ministry itself. This ranges from crooked contracts and pocketing the salaries of policemen who do not exist, to so-called ‘ghost policemen.’”
The consequences of this corruption are clear, Clark says. When policemen “extort money from travelers and protection money from shopkeepers and landlords, the legitimacy of the state is poisoned.” Hamid Karzai made the situation worse by seeking to install a number of crooked police generals to head each of the thirty-four provinces. According to Human Rights Watch, a number of these men had been “implicated in murder, torture, intimidation, bribery, government corruption and interfering with police investigations.”
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020