Saturday, August 7, 2010

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Afghanistan President Karzai is upset that American efforts to help his government find corruption found some corruption.  One of his top aides was arrested by an Afghan unit supported by the American effort.  Ooops.  I guess it is ok to go after corruption as long as it only nails folks who are on the outs with the el Presidente for life Karzai. 

At issue are two powerful anticorruption organizations set up in the Ministry of the Interior, initially with the president’s approval, known as the Major Crimes Task Force and the Sensitive Investigative Unit. American agencies, including the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration, are extensively involved in the units.

The title of this post is, of course, sarcastic.  Of course, Karzai is going to block serious anti-corruption efforts.  Nothing he has done over the past couple of years has helped to build lasting, accountable institutions so why should he start now?  This particular event is especially problematic as the American effort is shifting in two related and highly significant ways--it is trying to deliver more money through the government rather than through contractors and it is trying to have more accountability at the same time.  All I can say is: good luck with that.

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