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How the Pentagon Corrupted Afghanistan


Washington has vociferously denounced Afghan corruption as a major obstacle to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. This has been widely reported. Only one crucial element is missing from this routine censure: a credible explanation of why American nation-building failed there. No wonder. To do so, the U.S. would have to denounce itself.

Corruption in Afghanistan today is acute and permeates all sectors of society. In recent years, anecdotal evidence on the subject has been superseded by the studies of researchers, surveys by NGOs, and periodic reports by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). There is also the Corruption Perceptions Index of the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI). Last year, it bracketed Afghanistan with two other countries as the most corrupt on Earth. read more

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Communist Comeback (11/99)

Less than a decade ago, Kazakstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were integral parts of a highly centralized Soviet Union, with the Communist Party firmly in charge. Electors simply voted for a list of candidates provided by party bureaucrats, and parliaments were rubber stamps. Now the Communist empire is gone, but the Soviet-era leaders remain, the same men who held office when the USSR collapsed. The only exception is Tajikistan, whose Communist leader, Rahman Nabiyev, died in 1994. read more