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Corruption threatens the success of the international mission in Afghanistan

The Defence and Security Programme at Transparency International UK teamed up with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the Royal Services Institute (RUSI) to support a positive transition process for Afghanistan.Their advice is for the Afghan President to embrace these recommendations as his own mission against corruption, and to channel the public anger against corruption into a force for change.

Many major international organizations have been witnessing and helping shape the transition to Afghan Leadership since 2009, when President Obama announced a new strategy for Afghanistan. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and the Defence and Security Programme at Transparency International UK believe the Afghan transition can be successful. After a round of seminars with over sixty experts and officials from the Governments of Afghanistan, the UK, Germany, NATO, the UN, and other experts on governance and development, they put together the 28 detailed recommendations in the report Afghanistan in Transition: Re-Shaping Priorities for 2015 and Beyond, which will be launched on May 13th in Berlin.

Besides other important issues, the report makes 3 key recommendations regarding corruption which are interlinked:

  • First, corruption threatens the success of the international Mission in Afghanistan. The vast public anger against corruption and the damage that it is doing to Afghan society need to be harnessed and channelled into a force for change. Afghan citizens are well aware of many of the current injustices and would be ready to participate in efforts to promote change. Leadership from the Afghan Government would catalyse this process.
  • Second, the President of Afghanistan must embrace these recommendations as his own mission. The Afghan Government must also make counter corruption work a centrepiece of its transition strategy. Measures to reform Afghanistan institutions, build integrity, and curtail corruption need to be scaled up immediately and dramatically, to halt the current decline.
  • Third, the international community contributes to the problem. It must radically and urgently change the way it handles its financial flows, especially the money associated with massive security operations and the way it offers contracts for goods and services. In particular, it must direct more effort into contracting with Afghan companies, and it must do so in ways that improve national economic capacity.

Corruption, weak institutions and a lack of economic development pose a fatal threat to the viability of Afghanistan. “It is increasingly becoming part of the political dynamic of the country and entwined with organised crime. This threat has been consistently and seriously underestimated, both by the Afghan government and the International Community" stresses Mark Pyman, Director of the Defence and Security Programme at Transparency International UK. At the same time, weak and dysfunctional political institutions, lack of respect for the Afghan constitution and a slow economic process are posing major risks for Afghanistan’s future development.

There is plenty of evidence that nations emerging from serious conflict CAN address corruption successfully. “Nations such as Liberia, Rwanda, Serbia all show positive trends, despite huge and serious issues in their countries" explains Pyman.

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Transparency International UK

Transparency International (TI) is the civil society organisation leading the global fight against corruption. Through more than 90 chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, Germany, TI raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption, and works with partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective measures to tackle it. More information can be found on: www.transparency.org. TI’s Defence and Security Programme works with governments, defence companies, multilateral organisations and civil society to build integrity and reduce corruption in defence and security establishments worldwide. The Defence and Security Programme is led by TI (UK) on behalf of the movement, and is based in London. Information on TI’s work in the defence and security sector to date, including background, overviews of current and past projects, and publications, is available at the Defence and Security Programme website, www.defenceagainstcorruption.org.


For any press enquiries please contact

Julia Muravska, Research Officer
Defence and Security Programme, Transparency International
E: julia.muravska@transparency.org.uk
T: +44(0)2079227968

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