December 18th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

An inside look at corruption in Afghanistan

It's no secret that corruption is rampant in Afghanistan. CNN's Fred Pleitgen takes us inside a makeshift government facility where some people have to pay nearly half their annual salary - most of it in bribes - just to register a car.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Manyencobby

    It is very interestingly written, to the author thanks.
    "We’ve seen a lot of third country nationals where their passports are taken, or where they were delivered to a place to work which was different to what they were promised," said Erica Razook, legal fellow at Amnesty International USA’s Business and Human Rights Unit.
    Rights groups told IRIN that some TCNs effectively work in conditions of "indentured servitude," in which they sign employment contracts that last for three to five years, "but spend their first year just paying off travel expenses," Razook said.

    January 5, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sternberg

    In many third world countries, it it considered to be more "pay for service" than it is for corruption. Many government offices have no salaries, and the income is derived only from charging what the market will bear. It is a time honored system the world over.
    It is understood by the populace, and not necesarily corruption.

    December 24, 2009 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Ramos

    To Charles McKeown....The pointed difference is that we do not have over 100,000 troops and spending hundreds of borrowed billions in the Central and South American countries you named.
    In Afhgan, we are supporting a corrupt Karzai administration with the above but not so in the above countries.

    December 23, 2009 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gene Woliver

    I agree with other readers that maybe our journalists and ourselves should pay more attention to the "kinder, gentler" form of corruption that is so prevalent in the USA before we complain about corruption in other countries. Just because it's legal in the USA doesn't mean it's not a form of corruption.

    December 23, 2009 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. David

    Look at the corruption in our own congress, (house & senate) just to get a failed health care bill through. Why should a poor country who's only economy is based on drugs and terrorism, be any different?
    Lets start winning the war over there and quit trying to give a damn about the corrupt, so we can come home. Leave the politics out of this one.

    December 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ron Lambert

    Talk about bribery...perhaps we should look at Washington, DC. How many of the "publicly elected officials" there get kickbacks and perks from major corporations and lobbyists. Before we tell another country to clean up it's act...should we not clean up ours?

    December 22, 2009 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ezra Singh

    In Democracy, Corruption is universal., – money gets distributed over a large number of people. That is why in India the gap between rich and poor is growing, but more and more people are becoming millionaire.
    In Dictatorship, corruption is with a few at the Top – and the money is with a handful of people at the top.
    This is the only difference.

    December 22, 2009 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    The very foundation of a democracy is Graft and Corruption. Those in power get far richer on the backs of the lower class and the poor. Wars are fought on the backs of the poor and the richest are subsidized for their business enterprises.

    Look at the enormous graft and corrupt influence Big Pharma and Big Oil has on the entire Republican Party with their puppet lawmakers.

    The KGB placed a puppet dictator in Afghanistan as their 'ruler'. He was murdered by the Taliban when Russia pulled its troops out. The CIA placed their pay rolled puppet Karzi in Afghanistan as their new 'ruler'. He'll either move to a cozy exile on behalf of American taxpayers for the rest of his life or be murdered if he stays after America pulls its troops out.

    December 22, 2009 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Art

    It sounds like America to me, everyone is on the take. It's all about money.

    December 20, 2009 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. JC

    "Corruption" is endless – sinkhole to America the mass-production nation.

    History has proofed twice :
    (1) During the late of WWII Sino/Japan & China Civil war, The Chiang-Kai-Seik government's corruption, sold all American aids & weapons for scrap metal price for their own pocket. Then end up lose the whole China to the communist -Mao, who by that time (b4 1949 so poor has no knowlwdge about corruption, now the China Communist has learned and one of the top corruption on the earth).
    (2) During the Vietnam war, I was in Navy, one of classmate told me how corruption the South-Vietnam was; As soon as the navy ship unloaded the new cable wire to the dock to the South-Vietnam they burn it right the way to savage the cooper. My classmate and his navy just open both eyes and mouth and surprised the impact call "CORRUPTION".

    We all knew the American can't win the WAR in Vietnam.
    We all know the VC actually is the Chinese PLA wearing the Northern Vietnam clothes.
    By individually, one USA itself can beat out the combined (USSR+ PRC + Eastern BLOC).
    But can't defeat the "CORRUPTION".
    If the MASS Production = Mass Corruption. endup the tax payers will get mad.
    Then the show/game is over.
    The WWII – we're battled a real was no "C" inside, we won.
    The Korea War – Also no the ingredient of "C", we also won.
    The Vietnam has a "C" we lost.
    Are we going to cook by same ingredent of "C" for this AF battle

    December 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Naeem Towfiq

    Afghanistan has never seen this level of corruption in its history. People have to bribe for the basic services. Getting a passport without bribe is impossible.

    The problem is at the top of the government, lack of effective judiciary system and accountability.

    To root out the problem the 1st thing the government has to do is to acknowledge it which is reluctantly by the top government officials including the president.

    The 2nd most important is the lack of accountability and cohesive policy of the international community in pouring money into the country for reconstruction projects which attributed to corruption.

    corruption is so bad the it is behind control. Without a clean government from the top corruption will continue and Taliban will benefit from the lack of effective government that can solve people's problem and provide basic services.

    December 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Arvind Goswami

    i am SHOCKED and SURPRISED at your concern for the corruption in Afghanistan.. Are you not aware of the fact that your dearest friend and 'most important ally in the fight against terrorism' Paksitan is more corrupt beside most undependable.Historically Afghans are the most trusted people. If they pomise to potect you they will do it the cost of their own life. Against this it is historically proved fact that Paksitan has never ever kept it's commitment. USA has poured billions of dollars in money, arms and ammunnations. Has Pakistan used this aid for the purpose for which it was given?
    Have you ever mention that Pakistani Presiden Mr. Asaf Ali Zardari is better known as Mr. Ten Percent.
    Before abonding Pakistan and migrating to UK Pervez Mushraf gave amnesty to all the corrupt politiand and adminstrators. Supreme court of Pakistan has removed this and now What???
    Inspite of the persoanl request from President Obama to attack Afghan and Paksitani Taliban in FATA President Zardai has turned down that request. The long term success of Obama's Afghan policy largely depend on how swiftly forcefully and effectively PaksiatanI army and administration moves into Taliban heaven in FATA and Balochistan.This is not going to happen. Paksitan will not allow USA army in this area and if USA operate its drone then Paksitani stae orchestrate peoples protests and anti American demonstrations.
    USA is not in enviable position. It has very limited options. I hope USA will explore them with the help of Isereal.

    December 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Charles McKeown

    I'm surprised that you are reporting on the corruption at the borders of Afghanistan, when you have not even exposed the corruption at the border of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras.
    When you are just passing through transporting anything “household goods or personal property” to these countries, you have to have an agent (unregulated) because he knows which official to pay off to get the papers you need to enter the interior of one of these countries. Or you can wait at the border indefinitely.
    When you transport a car for introduction into their economies I can appreciate an introductory tax for the government coffers, but the corruption around that tax is highway theft.

    December 18, 2009 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tahera Nassrat

    This is not surprising; corruption is running even inside Parliament and Government offices in Afghanistan. This video clip is a reality in most places of Afghanistan. Probably locals know that government does not have time for check up and investigation, alongside, they don't have any rules to mind, so they run a business for self-interest; and even if they get jailed, they know that they can be released easily by paying bribe.

    December 18, 2009 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |