Corruption and its effects on the people of Afghanistan

With the assistance of the United States, a new interim government took office after the Taliban’s rule. Afghanistan was a collapsed state that wanted to be brought back to life. Afghanistan received billions of dollars in funding from the international community to help reconstruct the country. According to trading economics (2021), Afghanistan received three times the amount of assistance provided to Europe in the aftermath of WWII. However, Afghanistan has been collecting funding from foreign countries for almost two decades. But in the post-Karzai period, Afghanistan has gone through a significant period of transformation over the last seven years, with the installation of a new government in 2014. Ever since the country’s poverty has risen dramatically, and the percentage of displaced people has more than increased. In 2020, concern about the country’s international trajectory and trust in the government plummeted to its lowest rate in a decade (Singh, 2020). It suggests that the country has been in a very unbalanced situation, and corruption has been one of the reasons behind Afghanistan not developing. The main question that stands is to what extent have the past 20 years of corruption affected Afghanistan in terms of reconciliation, reconstruction, and development? Therefore, this paper will discuss the impact of the past 20 years of corruption on reconciliation, rebuilding, and Afghanistan state development. What would have happened to the country’s economy if there had been no corruption, and what would be the best way to combat corruption?

Corruption in Afghanistan

    Corruption is widespread in Afghanistan, and that has infiltrated all levels of government, making it difficult for the country to ensure order for its people and provide public goods and services. Patronage politics and fraud have become accepted parts of everyday life, and corruption is becoming deeply ingrained in societal activities. Despite the National Unity Government’s (NUG) stated goal of combating corruption, the formation of numerous anti-corruption agencies, and President Ghani’s participation in broader policy implementation, it remains (Gramer, 2021). This trend has affected foreign aid as well. Indeed, the situation is thought to have been compounded by a huge increase in funds and inadequate regulation of contracting and recruitment due to international involvement. To address this, development partners in Afghanistan have been advised to obtain a better understanding of the nature and range of fraud or corruption, avoid short-term relations between pernicious parties, recognize the amount of support that can be provided by governmental institutions, better reflect their programs with spending priorities, and strong relationships with one another, democratic institutions, and the Afghan government.

The main reason behind corruption

Corruption and bribery have had a major impact on the country’s development over the last 20 years. As previously stated, the country has received billions of dollars in aid from foreign countries and international organizations for rehabilitation, peace, and growth since the Taliban’s defeat. However, due to greed and dishonesty in terms of its use, it was all lost and gone. External interference from various countries in investigating corruption in the Afghan Police Force was one of the major causes of corruption, according to Singh (2020). Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s former president, discussed this in an interview with Tolo News after his term ended.  During his interview, he said that the US government was not only responsible for the fighting, but also the corruption. Especially in the Afghan police forces, where the appointment of a deputy officer or chief officer for an opposing district in major provinces is not dependent on merit, but rather on the amount of money available for the job. The aim is to make as much money as possible from their role, which involves smuggling, illicit drug dealing, and other illegal activities (Bak et al, 2019). Another factor contributing to Afghanistan’s lack of reconciliation and reconstruction has been foreign interference in the country’s political and ethnic affairs (Stanford, 2021). This has resulted in the formation of several militant organizations in Afghanistan, where they are intervening in the provision of funding and other items to those groups and their leaders.

Impact of corruption on Afghanistan

The reasons listed at the top have had a significant impact on the country’s rehabilitation over the last 20 years. According to a survey by Trading Economics, the country is currently ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranking 169th (2021). To begin with, it has had a significant impact on the country’s reconstruction. Afghanistan could have been Asia’s most industrialized nation if that funding had not been wasted. Second, it affected the country’s reconciliation (swap-berlin, 2021). Armed gangs are also being prepared and given arms to create instability. The third and most significant was the growth of the country’s institutions, as institution-building is the most important aspect of a country’s state-building (Dobbins et al, 2008). However, owing to the high level of corruption that existed, it was ineffective. If corruption had not existed in Afghanistan in previous years, it may have had a significant effect on the lives of these impoverished people, and the country would not have such a high poverty rate.


In conclusion, we could say that corruption has been one of the main aspects of Afghanistan’s instability and lack of development over the past 20 years. In Afghanistan, corruption, politics, and bribery have been known aspects of daily life. Over the last 20 years, corruption and bribery have had a significant effect on the country’s growth. The process of reconstruction and rehabilitation in Afghanistan is exacerbated by foreign intervention in political and ethnic relations. As a result, many insurgent organizations have formed in Afghanistan, which are interfering in the distribution of funding and other things to those organizations and their members. The purpose is to profit as much as possible from their positions, which entails illegal drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Afghanistan is one of the world’s most corrupt countries. Afghanistan is currently ranked 169th among the world’s most corrupt nations. If money had not been stolen, Afghanistan might have been Asia’s most developed country. To put an end to corruption in Afghanistan, restructuring of government management and financial accounting is needed. To stop the cycle of protection or immunity against punishment or loss, strong law enforcement is required. Information transparency and accountability must be encouraged. The avoidance of corruption and the elimination of budget breaches have both benefited from community monitoring initiatives.


Public administration and financial accounting must be restructured: Financial accounting changes and enhancing the position of analytics in a form had a significant impact on reducing bribery and reform efforts in several countries. This one change is the public transparency of budgetary records, which avoids financial waste and misallocation.

Put an end to impunity: Strong law enforcement is required to ensure that the corrupt are disciplined and to break the habit of immunity, or immunity from penalty or failure. A robust regulatory structure, law enforcement departments, and an impartial and active judicial system all contribute to successful enforcement strategies. Policies like the corrupt movement will help society sustain the system.

Transparency and openness to data should be promoted: States that have been active in combating corruption have a broad history of government accountability, press freedom, integrity, and access to the media (Sullivian& Forsberg,2014). Access to data improves the accessibility of governmental agencies while also increasing citizens’ interest in society.

People must be motivated: A durable solution to building shared confidence among people and the government would be to increase people’s appetite for anti-corruption and encourage them to keep the government accountable. Community surveillance programs, for instance, have aided in the prevention of misconduct, the reduction of budget leaks, and the improvement of the amount and ability of the government in some situations.

Mohammad Imran Khushal
Mohammad Imran Khushal
Mohammad Imran Khushal received a degree in political science and public administration with a minor in law from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). He is a writer, researcher, and advocate for world peace. engaged with diplomacy, governance, Public policy, Political integrity, and equity.