Corruption Is Mostly Related to Foreigners: Karzai

News - Afghanistan


President Hamid Karzai warned Saturday that corruption will not be eradicated from the country if the international community uses it as a tool against the Afghan government.

Attributing most of the country's corruption to foreigners, President Karzai called on the international community to prevent further corruption in international contracts.

"The greatest corruption today are in contracts and deals related to foreigners. They try to give these contracts to the relatives of [Afghan] government officials," said President Karzai.

Meanwhile, head of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption has warned that if the issue of corruption is not resolved, this phenomenon will bring down the system.

Corruption is so widespread across country that the government now accepts it as a nation-wide problem. Over the past 11 years, national and international institutions are believed to have been involved in this issue.

The international community has frequently criticised the government of Afghanistan over corruption, but Kabul has linked eradication of corruption to withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

"If the international community uses corruption for more pressure, there will be no outcome," Karzai said.

Karzai's comments come in the wake of the Tokyo Conference, where the government signed a mutual accountability document, promising to international donors to fight corruption in return for aid dollars.

The High Office Oversight and Anti-Corruption also accepts that their battle against corruption has had little positive results, calling for a large-scale public effort against the phenomenon.

"Fighting corruption needs public will; otherwise, it will bring down the system and the government once again," said Azizullah Lodin, head of anti-corruption body.

In a recent report, Transparency International listed Afghanistan as the most corrupt country in the world. The Afghan government, however, says the organisation has tried to portray Afghanistan as weak, with President Karzai dismissing the report as mostly wrong.

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