Socialist Worker

Italian MEP points to more corruption in Afghanistan

Issue No. 2044

Italian MEP Vittorio Agnoletto has just returned from a fact finding mission to Afghanistan.

He told Socialist Worker that he met Dr Ramazan Bashardost, an independent MP in the Afghan parliament, who has produced documents that he claims prove that Western aid money is going directly into the pockets of senior government minsters.

The documents show how one US-based NGO, that aims to fight corruption, deposits aid money into the Afghan Central Bank.

Instead of this money funding projects to promote good governance, it ends up financing the opulent lifestyles of “the warlords”.

Dr Bashardost has produced bank statements that show how these funds are then siphoned off into the accounts of senior cabinet ministers.

The documents show that between July 2003 and January 2005 over £414,000 passed through the Central Bank account.

Small monthly payments of between £150 to £1,500 were then transferred into private accounts.

“The US says it wants to support Afghans, but it is supporting a government and parliament full of warlords,” Dr Bashardost said.

“While office workers receive £20 a month, these people drive around in £20,000 cars, and have monthly salaries in the thousands, often paid to them directly by Western NGOs or the Western coalition,” he added.

A recent poll found that 60 percent of Afghans said that the US-backed government is more corrupt than the Taliban or the Soviet backed regime in the 1980s.

The survey, by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, also found that 93 percent of Afghans say they have to pay bribes to access basic public services.

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Sat 31 Mar 2007, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2044
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