Sunday, August 29, 2010

The President Is Unavailable For Comment. He's Too Busy Building His Own Gallows.

KABUL, Afghanistan — One of the country’s most senior prosecutors said Saturday that President Hamid Karzai fired him last week after he repeatedly refused to block corruption investigations at the highest levels of Mr. Karzai’s government.

Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, the former deputy attorney general, said investigations of more than two dozen senior Afghan officials — including cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors — were being held up or blocked outright by Mr. Karzai, Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko and others.

Like Mohaqiq says: "The new political path that Karzai has chosen will not only destroy him, it will destroy the country. It's a kind of suicide."

In The New Republic, Barry Gewen has an amusing and irreverent take on our preoccupations with Afghan corruption, and his point has its merits, if only from a short-term American national-security point of view. He begins his essay by citing an essay of mine in Democratiya, in which I cite some gallows humour about Karzai and "corruption" that was making the rounds in Kabul at the time. My point was rather different than Gewen's - a mote in your brother's eye sort of point.

I doubt things have much improved, but at the time, the world had pledged roughly $25 billion to Afghanistan for aid and reconstruction, but only $15 billion has been delivered, and barely half that amount had trickled into the Afghan economy; the rest has been eaten up in ex-pat salaries, consultants’ fees, and country-of-origin subcontracts. It's why the foreign-aid overclass in Kabul is known as "the cow that drinks its own milk."

Badabing, tish.

HOLD ON a minute. This just in: Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Afghanistan's national security adviser, said that Faqiryar, at 72, was simply too old by law to hold his post. "His existence is illegal," Spanta said.

Also: Wadir Safi, a professor of law and political science at Kabul University, says: "As long as we don't clean up our administration, make it accountable to better serve people, and as long as we have mafia networks and bosses, warlords, war criminals, and violators of human rights in this administration, we will not be able to improve this situation. They will deliberately perpetuate corruption to prolong their rule."


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