Graft rampant in Afghanistan: WikiLeaks

The US is concerned about the "pervasive nature" of rampant graft and corruption in Afghanistan with all the top leadership involved, secret diplomatic cables from the American embassy in Kabul says.

Washington: The US is concerned about the
"pervasive nature" of rampant graft and corruption in
Afghanistan with all the top leadership involved, secret
diplomatic cables from the American embassy in Kabul says.

The cables describe Afghanistan as a country where
everything is for sale and corruption is coming directly from
the top.

The cables showed corruption`s pervasive nature, its
overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to
American officials.

An August 2009 report from Kabul says Karzai and his
attorney general "allowed dangerous individuals to go free or
re-enter the battlefield without ever facing an Afghan court."

In one of the cables, the American Embassy noted that
the agriculture minister Asif Rahimi "appears to be the only
minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of
bribery exist."

A November 2009 cable described the acting governor
of Khost Province, Tahir Khan Sabari, as "a refreshing
change," an effective and trustworthy leader. But, Sabari told
his American admirers that he did not have "the USD
200,000-300,000 for a bribe" necessary to secure the job
permanently.

The cables lay out allegations of bribes and
profit-skimming in the organisation of travel to Saudi Arabia
for the hajj, or pilgrimage; in a scheme to transfer money via
cellphones; in the purchase of wheat seed; in the compilation
of an official list of war criminals; and in the voting in
Parliament.

Sayed Fatimie, the minister of health, told diplomats
in January that members of Parliament wanted cash to confirm
his appointment.

"MPs had offered their own votes and the votes of
others they could purportedly deliver for USD 1,000 apiece,"
cables quoted Fatimie as saying.

Some of the graft is believed to go on to benefit
insurgent networks, according to the files.

The widespread corruption is made possible in part by
a largely unregulated banking infrastructure and the ancient
hawala money transfer network that is the method of choice for
politicians, insurgents and drug traffickers to move cash
around the Muslim world.

Last year, a cable signed by Ambassador Eikenberry
said that the hawala favoured by the Afghan elite, New Ansari,
"is facilitating bribes and other wide-scale illicit cash
transfers for corrupt Afghan officials".

As a "kingpin of Kandahar," the younger half brother
of President Hamid Karzai is using his influence as the
unrivalled strongman to manipulate state institutions and
protect illicit businesses.

From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan
emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and
embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct
outlier, the New York Times said.

PTI

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