The office of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has questioned the will and role of certain Afghan government departments and the parliamentarians role in the anti-corruption war.
In a report released on June 6 SIGAR said Afghanistan’s law enforcement and judiciary often avoid investigating, prosecuting, and punishing powerful individuals.
The SIGAR audit report identifies five major challenges that it says continue to limit the Afghan government’s ability to combat corruption:
— Key anti-corruption institutions such as the Anti Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) and Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) lack the capacity, resources, or security they need to perform their functions.
— Despite efforts by the Afghan government to clarify the law, Afghan officials have differing opinions about when the MCTF’s detective role ends and when the Attorney General’s Office’s (AGO) investigation role begins, which has led to recurring conflict between these two organizations.
— Afghanistan’s law enforcement and judiciary often avoid investigating, prosecuting, and punishing powerful individuals.
— Unqualified and potentially corrupt actors continue to operate in key Afghan anti-corruption institutions.
— U.S., international, and Afghan officials all expressed skepticism about Parliament’s willingness to support anti-corruption reforms.
— The Afghan government has begun implementing its anti-corruption strategy and other reforms, but questions remain regarding its ability to fully implement the strategy and demonstrate a lasting commitment to combating corruption. While the strategy is a positive step, it has weaknesses and it does not meet some international standards and best practices.
— The strategy focuses primarily on 15 “priority” ministries but leaves the role of Afghanistan’s largest ministry, the Ministry of Defense, unclear.
— 58 percent (38 of 66) of the goals discussed in Afghanistan’s anti-corruption strategy lacked corresponding benchmarks to evaluate implementation progress. 37 percent (14 of 38) of the benchmarks in the strategy are without corresponding goals, making it unclear how the completion of these benchmarks will advance the government’s anti-corruption goals.
— The Afghan government has made some progress in combating corruption within its government, but it is unlikely that lasting change will be realized until the Afghan government commits to fighting corruption without reservations. If the Afghan government continues not to take action against public officials who violate internal codes of ethics, while simultaneously failing to protect reformers and whistleblowers from reprisal, a climate of corruption will endure.
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