Korrupsjonen er et større problem enn Taliban. Så lenge korrupsjonen vedvarer vil det være umulig å beseire Taliban, for korrupsjonen ødelegger folks tillit til myndighetene.
Korrupsjonen i Afghanistan er ikke små-skala: den er systematisk og massiv: man selger hva som helst: den rammer de hederlige og beste. De som stiger til topps er de korrupte. Desillusjoneringen og kynismen dette avler spiller befolkningen rett i hendene på Taliban.
Det er konklusjonen journalisten Richard A. Oppel trekker etter to uker i Ghazni-provinsen, en provins med 1,3 millioner innbyggere.
In two weeks of interviews in this mountainous region of poor farmers and shepherds, exasperated American soldiers said it was hard to determine which was their more daunting opponent — the few thousand Taliban who ruled villages through a shadow government of mullahs, or corruption so rife that it had deeply undercut efforts to improve the police and had destroyed many Afghans’ faith in government.
That lack of trust, coupled with the absence of security forces in almost all villages, further strengthens the hand of the Taliban as the only real power here. Ghazni’s experience shows the challenge that corruption presents to efforts to establish better policing throughout the country.
Selv for amerikanerne er korrupsjon et følsomt tema. Slike anklager griper direkte inn i forholdet til afghanere de skal samarbeide med. Men problemet er uomtvistelig stort og det truer ISAFs operasjon. Også afghanske kilder bekrefter at det er slik.
police officials who steal truckloads of gasoline; judges and prosecutors who make decisions based on bribes; high-ranking government officials who reap payoffs from hashish and chromite smuggling; and midlevel security and political jobs that are sold, sometimes for more than $50,000, money the buyers then recoup through still more bribes and theft.
Some of the troops’ Afghan colleagues recognize the problem, too. «In every office there is corruption,» said Col. Mohammed Zaman, the departing provincial police chief. «It’s not only prosecutors and judges.»
«This is the reason no one accepts the rule of law,» he said, «because the government is not going by the rule of law.»
The result is an ineffective and woefully undersupplied Afghan police force and a frustrating lack of justice for Afghans. Worse still, by comparison with the government’s exercise of authority, the law imposed by the Taliban is far more certain — quick and clear, if ruthless.
«The appointed officials and elected officials, the people don’t trust them, and they don’t trust them with good reason,» Major Schmeling said. «They take from them and they give nothing back.»
He added: «Right now, there is no meritocracy here. It’s, ‘Hey, your sister has a pretty mouth — do you want to be a general?’ «
USA sender 4.000 ekstra mann til Afghanistan for å trene politi og hær, men hva hjelper det hvis korrupsjonen forblir urørt? Kan det tvert om tenkes at den store internasjonale innstatsen begunstiger korrupsjonen, fordi kaka som skal deles stadig vokser. Norge bevilger 750 millioner årlig til Afghanistan, hvorfor er ikke korrupsjon et tema i norske medier? NUPI-direktør Jan Egeland har tvert om skrevet at det er bedre at penger går til korrupte afghanske tjenestemenn enn til ISAFs krigføring!
Den offentlige korrupsjonen samarbeider med narko-industrien. Korrupte samarbeider med korrupte.
Major Randy Schmeling (43) fra Nasjonalgarden, coacher politiet i provinshovedstaden Ghazni.
That culture of corruption affects everything: promotions, assignments, the resolution of cases. As one example, Major Schmeling pointed to a police officer who a year ago was a lowly patrolman and gate guard. Then, he said, the policeman scraped together the money for a new job: a top noncommissioned officer on the provincial police force.
«As long as people are buying themselves into positions like that, the people will never trust the system,» the major said.
To those buying jobs, the payments are an investment they intend to recover, along with a profit. Jobs that bring more money, like posts near the Kabul-Kandahar highway that allow opportunities for extorting truckers and smugglers, sell for a premium, soldiers here say.
Korrupte skyr ærlige
Korrupte har en annen egenskap felles: de skyr mennesker som er ærlige, og forsøker å bli kvitt dem. Når selve systemet er gjennomkorrupt, blir resultatet katastrofalt.
But in the process, honest officials are passed over or punished. «You could say that the corruption you are involved in is an investment in your future, and your family’s future,» said First Lt. Craig Porte, a military intelligence officer in Ghazni, who said it was «fairly common to buy your position» in government. «If you are not involved in corruption, you are seen as an enemy of those who are, which has a tendency to get you fired.»
Many soldiers question whether anything will ever change. «The corruption here is a bigger threat to a stable government than the Taliban,» said First Sgt. John Strain, the senior noncommissioned officer on the American unit training the Ghazni police.
Polititjenestemenn rekvirer flere våpen enn de trenger og selger dem til Taliban. Det svindles i stor stil med drivstoff. Når penger og grådighet er rettesnor, forsvinner etter hvert alle hemninger. Man betaler Taliban for ikke å angripe, eller man krever beskyttelsespenger av smuglere.
In some places, government officials are believed to have paid off Taliban fighters to limit attacks, allowing smuggling that benefits provincial officials to continue without interference, several American and Afghan officials from Ghazni said.
In this swindle, provincial «bodyguards» demand protection money from smugglers, anywhere from $400 to $2,000 per truck, for safe passage through Ghazni, said a Ghazni police official recently forced out of his job.
«High-ranking officials in Ghazni have immunity from the law,» said the official, who feared retribution and agreed to speak only if he was not identified. Likening many provincial officials to a criminal mafia, he added, «People have no choice but to go to the Taliban to solve their problems.»
Offentlige tjenestemenn er hevet over loven. Hvor skal folk få sin rett? De må gå til Taliban, som eksekverer en hard, men forutsigbar justis – på deres egne premisser. Alle som viser tegn til å ville samarbeide med ISAF eller regjeringen, blir grusomt straffet. Dermed oppstår et stort vakuum. Frykten rår.
Indeed, in Ghazni’s impoverished villages, where the light brown of clay walls and mud homes is broken only by green plots of winter wheat, the Taliban exploit the widespread sense that the government does not serve people. When the Taliban were in power in the 1990s, corruption and official bribery were more limited.
The lack of competent civilian authority aids the insurgents. Afghan Army officers trained by Maj. Daren Runion «don’t like the Taliban,» he said. But some believe «that in some ways parts of their rule were better.»
Even if the corruption were not so debilitating, American and Afghan forces would still face a sizable enemy. Major Schmeling estimates that there are 2,000 Taliban fighters in the province. «They still exercise the exact same control over these villages that they had up until 2001,» he said.
In Qarabagh, one of the largest districts, the Taliban use 40 villages as bases to dominate hundreds of other villages, said Qarabagh’s deputy police chief, Capt. Mohammed Younus.
Police recruits are easy prey. Twenty-four policemen have been killed in Taliban ambushes and roadside bombings in Qarabagh over the past year, Captain Younus said.
«We don’t have any presence with the civilians,» he said. «Taliban live with them 24 hours a day.» Residents take complaints to local Taliban leaders, not the police, he said. «They have a judge and prosecutor. The Taliban is active at the bazaar in each village.»
In Waghaz District, near Qarabagh, there are just 50 permanent Taliban members, among a population of up to 60,000 ethnic Pashtuns and 33,000 Hazara, said Abdul Azim, the subgovernor of Waghaz. Yet the Taliban do not need a large presence to dominate, he explained. Last year, he said, the Taliban took three men from their homes whom they suspected of helping the government.
«They burned the three men and chopped their limbs off with axes,» he said. «That’s why the 60,000 cannot beat the 50.»