Afghan state corruption undermines everything positive we've tried to do there for the past decade. We're so understrength that we have no means to police the police, no way to imprison the gaolers, no possibility of governing the rulers.
We hear a lot about corruption, especially the practise of bribery, but how bad is it? Here are two figures published in today's Guardian that put it in shocking perspective.
- Average value of bribes paid in 2009 - $156
- Average per capita income that year - $502
Now, if you have to get by without a third of your total income just to get by with the cops and bureaucrats, how loyal are you going to be to the government that robs you?
In a recent survey of Afghans, the judiciary and the police were identified as the two most corrupt institutions in Karzai's Afghanistan. This is what our forces are fighting and dying to prop up, the government we're banking on. Madness.