Corruption Cited as Root Cause of Afghanistan Government Failure

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In a March report, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko warned that the failure to effectively address systemic corruption in Afghanistan put U.S. reconstruction programs at risk of being subverted or failing outright. Sopko’s assessment is supported by the Asia Foundation, which found that 85 percent of Afghan residents reported that corruption was a major problem in their daily life and 95 percent said corruption was a major problem in Afghanistan as a whole. In 2019, the Department of Defense said that corruption was “the top strategic threat to the legitimacy and success of the Afghan government,” while Deborah Lyons of the UN called corruption a “silent cancer steadily affecting all aspects of the lives of Afghan citizens.”

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