Hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint a picture of corruption in Afghanistan at every level of government and society, according to the New York Times and the Guardian newspaper in London.
The New York Times, reporting the scale of the problem, said the documents showed corruption’s ” pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials.”
One cable from the U.S. mission in Kabul earlier this year noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, “appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist.”
Two months previously, a senior Afghan minister warned U.S. diplomats that President Hamid Karzai was “under great pressure from political leaders to accept a number of ministerial candidates whose technical skills are lacking.” The minister “argued that these political leaders are only thinking of dividing up the spoils rather than the quality of government needed to tackle Afghanistan’s problems.” He also told the U.S. Embassy that of the $200 million collected in fees on truck traffic, just $30 million reached government coffers. …