Thursday, May 25, 2006


"Yes, I can remember Karzai saying that he wants to be an exporter of foreign aid as soon as possible."

Because the death tolls are lesser than in Iraq and the political left tend to support or at least accept the invasion of Afghanistan, news about the country's rebuilding is generally left unreported unless a story pops up about poppy sales or the alleged regrowing Taliban menace. But there are always blogs to the rescue, and from the area we can see an inside view from the Afghan Warrior blog. Waheed reports about how business and rebuilding are going:

An international business conference was held in the capital Kabul last week to find out new ways to invest in Afghanistan. More than 25 foreign companies from different countries participated in an exhibition in order to introduce their goods to the market. After the decades of war and conflict, Afghanistan is finally open for business. Many foreign inverstors have invested in different business fields which gives a good benefit to the government and also opens up job opportunities for the Afghan people.

So far so good, but he also laments incompetence and corruption in the government, at least at some levels (a song every nation knows well):

The income taxes which have been brought to the government treasury have not been used properly and according to some reports around 400 milion dollars from the general revenue of the country has been wasted due to administration corruption and lack of working capacity. There are some Afghans that are living under tents but our ministries are spending thousands of dollars on buying fancy cars and furnitures. Even though our budget increased 30% this year, living conditions are not developed in the country.

It takes time for changes to take effect, and a change in a budget one year usually lags a good two to three years before real impact is felt by the public. Commenters had a few thoughts on the matter:
Yes, I can remember Karzai saying that he wants to be an exporter of foreign aid as soon as possible. It is wonderful to see the Afghans trying so hard. I think the future is bright for the whole world. But we should remember to thank the Americans for doing the lion's share of the work. And getting nothing but bile for all their efforts. It is sad to see.
-by Paul Edwards, Mu'tazilite

Thanks for the well-written explanation of what is going on these days.

Controlling corruption will be the key. Bluntly, corruption cannot be eliminated (got some prime cases going in the U.S. right now, in BOTH political parties), but it's impact on what needs to be done has to be limited. Certainly limited to the point where civil servants get paid enough to live on.
-by Mike O

Your mention of ministry corruption is not unlike here in China. Government officials here are constantly showboating around in their newest benz as well as buying up top-notch clothing, furnishings & housing.

Shanghai's a good example of that. Outside of Shanghai, workers are squeezing about 5000 RMB per year, while local government officials inside the "Inner Circle Road" (what locals call the Foreigner & Government Haven) turn a blind eye & celebrate the grand opening of the newest luxury hotel & Ferrari dealership.

Government officials cheer their booming capitalist economy & the upcoming Olympics while turning a blind eye to poorer sections of the country. Unless the poorer people are in the way of the next Olympic stadium to be erected. Then they shoot them.
-by Eric

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