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Afghanistan Fact of the Day


 

Afghans paid more than $2.5 billion US in bribes between the fall of 2008 and the fall of 2009, or about one quarter the value of the country’s gross domestic product

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Afghanistan Fact of the Day

  1. Wowzers.

  2. Fuck You Nigga

  3. That's a disheartening fact indeed. Corruption stymies the development of civil society and democracy.

  4. On the bright side, they have a sitting Parliament that's attempting to hold Karzai's feet to the fire.

    • It would be nice if Canada had one of those!

  5. This is part of the problem in Afghanistan, and it's nobody's fault, it's just a system challenge. It's one of the very poorest countries in the world — I believe something like 169th out of 174 on the UN Human Development Index. It's just grindingly poor. If you make $100 a month, you are really quite affluent by Afghan standards.

    And together, governments, NGOs, hopeful investors, drug lords and swindlers have poured hundreds of billions of dollars in cash, capital stock and services into that economy. This is simply the cost of doing business when NATO deploys, followed by dozens of national governments' civilian officials and hundreds of NGOs and businesses.

    Pour that much money into a society where $10 makes a huge difference, and where after 30 years of civil war everybody has developed a gimlet eye for the main chance, because your benefactor this year may not (ahem) be around next year. And you get an extraordinarily potent bribe mill. The amount of corruption is just breathtaking, and again it's not really anyone's "fault" in the sense that it's unrealistic to hope to fix it: It's human nature chasing awesome wealth around a shattered dust bowl.

    • "The amount of corruption is just breathtaking, and again it's not really anyone's "fault" in the sense that it's unrealistic to hope to fix it: It's human nature chasing awesome wealth around a shattered dust bowl."

      Your comment got me thinking about who is collecting the cash sloshing around the system. Not the way I would choose to do it but this is one way of distributing the wealth, so to speak.

      If regular people are on the take that's ok, if it's mainly criminals than that's a problem? Also, authorities are going to have to crack down on corruption at some point or society won't develop.

  6. Unfortunately, it's not only Afghans doing the bribing.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091130/roston

    There's also been some discussion of this on the AfPak channel over at Foreign Policy, although I don't have a link handy. Apparently some of the policy wonks think that this kind of bribery is actually a good strategy.

    • Milo Minderbinder lives!

  7. This may be a true figure but just how exactly, do we know this number? Since bribes as a rule aren't a matter of public record, hence the term, this strikes me as information gathered in the same manner as that of much of the climate change data that has been spewed. If we know the number then we must also know where the money went, this is the part that would interest me.

    • "This may be a true figure but just how exactly, do we know this number?"

      Did you read the article?

      "The report, titled Corruption in Afghanistan: Bribery as reported by the victims, was based on surveys with 7,600 people across the country. It found that 50 per cent of Afghans had to pay at least one kickback to a public official, including police. The average bribe was $160 US."

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