Kabul: Afghanistan`s government must show
progress on eradicating rampant corruption or risk losing the support of the United States, which helps it stay in power, a
senior US politician said Wednesday.
Senator John Kerry described corruption as "one of the
most significant challenges facing Afghanistan and facing the
allies who are supporting Afghanistan," as a war against
Taliban insurgents drags towards its tenth year.
Afghanistan is rated as the second most corrupt country
in the world, better only than lawless Somalia, by watchdog
Transparency International, and is led by a president whose
re-election last year was tainted by massive fraud.
President Hamid Karzai is under intense pressure from his
Western backers to tackle endemic corruption at every level of
"I think in the next days the government of Afghanistan`s
response to anti-corruption efforts are a key test of its
ability to regain the confidence of the people and provide the
kind of governance that the American people are prepared to
support with hard-earned tax dollars and most importantly with
the treasure of our country, the lives of young men and
women," Kerry said.
"I believe President Karzai wants to do that but my
belief that he wants to do it is not going to be enough. It`s
going to have to be done."
Benchmarks would be set, he said, but declined to go into
Kerry, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations
committee, said Afghanistan had made some progress in tackling
corruption by establishing two bodies: the major crimes task
force and the sensitive investigations office.
Both bodies have been operating for 18 months with the
help of foreign advisers under the auspices of Afghanistan`s
intelligence office and interior ministry, and with mostly US