Latvian Commentary Claims United States Has Facilitated Corruption in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is the third most corrupt country in the world according to the annual list of the most corrupt countries, as prepared by Transparency International. In front of Afghanistan are North Korea and Somalia. It could be said that literally nothing in Afghanistan happens in the way in which it should happen.

The battle against corruption has always been high on the list of things which European countries and the United States want to do, because it is clear that corruption most directly destroys fundamental Western values such as freedom, democracy and human rights.

It is also often said, however, that all means are good in love and war, and it really does seem that this Machiavellian lesson is still being perceived rather literally by the West, at least when it comes to war.

US Support for Corruption?

Ever clearer are reports which popped up from time to time in the past — the West, particularly in terms of the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States, have supported corruption in Afghanistan in the most direct way.

The New York Times recently published a story which lays bare a fairly contradictory scene about the restoration of the system of state in the country which has been oppressed by chaos. It turns out that for many years now, the CIA has been delivering money of unspecified origins in bags, backpacks and suitcases to Afghan bureaucrats and local rulers so as to try to win their favor. The money appears from nowhere and disappears in an unknown direction.

On the one hand, this tactic may seem understandable — try to speak the language which the locals understand to the greatest degree. The problem is that in Afghanistan, these tactics are on the edge, to a certain extent, of supporting the enemy, and when a secret service uses money of uncertain origins, that means nothing good.

Other Examples

This is by no means the first case in which the West has been accused of corruptive deals with local authorities. In 2010, for instance, there were very noisy complaints from serious media outlets and US politicians about the way in which cargoes were being delivered in Afghanistan to military bases. It turned out that the $2.16 billion that were spent on the transportation services were used in part to pay salaries to officials at several companies which were close to the administration of President Karzai. They, in turn, assigned the relevant work to subcontractors, which then paid “security fees” of between $1,500 and $15,000 to local rulers and even Al Qa’ida commanders for each truck that was being used for such purposes. There have also occasionally been suspicions about the possibility that military contingents from several other countries have been paying the same security fee to the locals.

On the day when The New York Times published its article, one of Germany’s security institutions, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) was forced to admit that shortly before the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, it organized seminars for representatives of security institutions from Egypt and Tunisia, informing agents with techniques and technologies related to the modern observation of the Internet and telecommunications. The BKA tried to defend itself by claiming that the seminars were organized to help local authorities in the battle against terrorism, but in practical terms the advice was most useful in oppressing the opposition during the Arab Spring.

These are just the latest examples of dirty deeds on a fairly long list. Should double standards and flexible principles gradually be added to the list of new Western values?

By Kaspars Adijans /Riga, Lavtia /Diena News

 

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