Afghans have collectively paid $4b in bribes, claims Sopko
KABUL (Pajhwok): Individual Afghans have collectively paid $4 billion in bribes to government officials, including judges, America’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko says.
In a speech on “An Existential Threat: US Oversight of and Responses to Corruption in Afghanistan” at the University of Pittsburgh, he said SIGAR had been closely monitoring reconstruction efforts in the war-torn country.
Wednesday’s presentation focussed on how to train future generations of America’s foreign-policy professionals to deal with complex problems in insecure environments.
"This pervasive corruption poses a deadly threat to the entire US effort to rebuild Afghanistan," Sopko remarked, saying Congress had appropriated more than $113 billion to rebuild the country since 2002.
But the reconstruction efforts were at risk because corruption had undermined government legitimacy, fueled the insurgency and sapped resources, the official explained.
He alleged: "The United States failed to recognise that vast sums of money injected into the Afghan economy, with limited oversight and pressures to spend, created conditions for corruption."
The culprits who had siphoned funds from aid and reconstruction projects included US military officers, enlisted personnel and federal civilians, Sopko noted, stressing the urgency of combating graft in Afghanistan.
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