Moral Outrage
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Less corrupt under the Taliban, say Afghans

Corruption in Afghanistan has become so entrenched that the population is being forced to pay out the equivalent of a quarter of the country’s GDP in bribes, according to a new UN report.

Six out of 10 Afghans view corruption as a bigger problem than violence, the dossier, compiled by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), found. It showed that illicit payments totaling $2.5 billion were made to officials in order to obtain essential public services.

The size of the “bribery economy” roughly corresponded to that of Afghanistan’s opium trade. The “explosion” in opium production which started in 2005 corresponded with the spread of illegal payments to officials and parts of the economy being swamped by “black money”, said the report.

“Baksheesh culture” permeates every strata of society, with average bribes coming in at $160, compared to the average per capita income of $425 a year.

Last year’s elections, in which President Karzai was declared victor amid claims of widespread ballot stuffing, have led to questions in Europe and the US about soldiers’ lives being lost to prop up a government branded as corrupt.

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One Response to “Less corrupt under the Taliban, say Afghans”

  1. […] splits his time between the United States, Dubai and Afghanistan. At the time of the overthrow of the Taliban, nearly nine years ago, Mahmood Karzai ran several Afghan restaurants in the United States. Today, […]


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