`Foreigners fuelling corruption in Afghanistan`

Experts say corruption is an endemic problem among many officials in Afghanistan.

Kabul: Foreigners are fuelling the problem of
corruption in Afghanistan, a country ranked as one of the most
corrupt in the world, the Afghan President Hamid Karzai said
on Sunday.

"We have problems with both Afghans and foreigners... Our
foreigner colleagues have not only been uncooperative but
sometimes they have created obstacles," he said during a
speech in Kabul on corruption.

"One of the ways to curb corruption is that foreigners
should stop giving out contracts to the relatives of the high
ranking government officials. We have to revise and reform the
contract system", Karzai said.
"We have lost our mutual trust: foreigners think we go
corrupt for political reasons, and we think they are corrupt
for the same reason."

In a global survey published this month by Berlin-based
anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, Afghanistan
was again named one of the world`s most corrupt nations.

Karzai said the problem of corruption was exacerbated by
uncertainty over the future of the country.
"We have to work together with our foreigner friends to
give people assurance."

Afghanistan pledged at a major conference in Germany last
Monday to step up the fight against corruption in return for
sustained international support.

"Afghan government institutions at all levels should
increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs
of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them,"
Afghanistan and its international partners said in a
communique after the Bonn meeting.

"In this context, the protection of civilians,
strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption
in all its forms remain key priorities."

Experts say corruption is an endemic problem among many
officials in Afghanistan and that the government and foreign
powers must do more to combat it.
The US government has spent billions on aid to Afghanistan
since 2002, much of which goes through contractors.


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