State building in Afghanistan has been guided by the shared intent of establishing democratic/ good governance whose main characteristics are accountability, transparency, rule of law, responsiveness, inclusivity, effectiveness, efficiency, and participation. Most of these elements have been weak or missing from the mode of governance in Afghanistan while a crosscutting theme undermining efforts to institute these elements has been systemic corruption. Corruption is a key deterrent preventing development aid from reaching the most vulnerable segments in the recipient countries.
Corrupt actors, national and extra-national, have made fortunes through misappropriation of hundreds of millions dollars of aid money flowing into Afghanistan since 2001. Research and evaluations in Afghanistan have revealed time and again that endemic corruption is a serious threat to social, economic, and political stability of the country. The myriad of different and innovative ways in which corruption is practiced in Afghanistan is at once fascinating and horrifying. Corruption has become part and parcel of how service providers and service users interact, how donor aid funds are expensed, how ordinary people go about their daily lives, and how private sector actors conduct their business activity. All actors, to one degree or another, play a role in perpetuating corruption.
Numerous statements by President Ghani and recent statements by others have renewed the urgency of curbing corruption in Afghanistan. These statements indicate that despite Afghanistan’s many challenges there is sufficient political will by the government and its international donors to make every effort to curb and eliminate corruption. Understanding the mechanisms that underpin the institutionalization of corruption is crucial in identifying efficient ways to resist, reduce, and ultimately eliminate corruption.
The mandate of the Anti-Corruption Sub-committee is to facilitate evidence-based constructive advocacy by civil society organizations to initiate an inclusive, ongoing dialogue between state and non-state actors to collaborate and explore possibilities fighting corruption as a shared, systemic problem.