One problem is that putting up with corruption may be the price Karzai has to pay for support from regional authorities. The U.S. and others are already grooming another president Zalmay Khalilzad to challenge Karzai and put someone in power who is even more pliable and representative of U.S. interests. Notice that Karzai talks about peace and prosperity by 2020. You can expect that there will be more of a drain on Canadian taxpayers after 2011. We are throwing more good money after bad and supporting our troops by making sure that we will remain and suffer more casualties. All for a good cause though the triumph of U.S. imperialism and good defence contracts for U.S. and Canadian companies.
Karzai pleads for billions in new aid, promises to fight corruption
Canada, U.S. already committing extra money to Afghanistan
Last Updated: Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:22 AM ET CBC News
Clean water, electricity and health services are not available in most Afghan villages. President Hamid Karzai is appealing for $50 billion US in new funding for development and security but concern is growing about corruption in his government. (Tomas Munita/Associated Press)
Afghanistan's president appealed for more than $50 billion in new aid for the country while attending an international donors conference Thursday in Paris, promising the money will be spent on reconstruction and not frittered away through corruption.
The appeal for new money was in a strategic development plan that Hamid Karzai presented to the conference, saying Afghanistan would achieve peace and stability by 2020 if it got the needed aid.
"Afghanistan needs large amounts of aid but precisely how aid is spent is just as important," Karzai said, referring to donors' worries about graft and thievery by government officials.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon also warned about the debilitating impact of corruption on reconstruction and development.
"Every act of corruption is a deliberate act by someone in a position of authority," he said in a speech at the Paris conference.
A recent report from an independent aid-monitoring group, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, said only 60 per cent of foreign help sent to Karzai's government since 2001 has reached the Afghan people.
Corruption was only partially to blame, the group found. International aid agency spending on bureaucracy and salaries soaked up a significant amount of money meant to create jobs, train police and build roads, said the group's report released Tuesday.
Karzai should fire corrupt officials: donors
CBC's David Common, covering the conference in Paris, said there are real concerns among donors about Afghan government corruption.
"Some donor governments have privately pleaded with Karzai to fire corrupt officials within his cabinet, including governors who run their provinces like personal fiefdoms."
There are also continuing concerns about the drug trade, with opium production at record levels in almost all the country's 29 provinces. Farmers say they're driven to grow poppies by poverty, and the failure to rebuild rural roads and infrastructure needed to produce other, legal crops.
Most Afghans still live in mud-brick homes, with fewer than 20 per cent having access to electricity, clean water or health services.
Poverty helps insurgency
Taliban insurgents use the country's continuing poverty and the seemingly slow pace of internationally assisted development to recruit fighters in desperately poor areas, observers say.
Canada has already announced a significant boost in its aid to Afghanistan over the next three years.
David Emmerson, acting foreign affairs minister representing Canada at the Paris conference, said the new Canadian money would include funding for a crucial hydro project in northern Kandahar province and a polio immunization drive for seven million children.
The United States has also added $10 billion US to its current commitment to Afghanistan, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who warned that without security, aid spending had little impact on poverty and disease in the Afghan countryside.
"It's a mistake to think of security and reconstruction as somehow different parts of the problem [of Afghanistan]," Rice said.With files from the Associated Press