10 May 2010

Well, At Least It's Running ... Right? ... Right? ...

AFGHANISTAN: Running on drugs, corruption and aid

The drugs trade and corruption generate more money than lawful economic activities in Afghanistan. Opium sales generated an estimated US$2.8 billion in 2009, while in the same year Afghans paid $2.5 billion in bribes to government officials, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The drug-cum-corruption economy of $5.3 billion in 2009 is more than the $4.4 billion earmarked in 2010 for running the government and financing the development budget.

Afghanistan is the world’s top opium producer, according to UNODC, and its government is the most corrupt in the world after Somalia, according to Transparency International. The opium trade employs about 1.6 million people (6.4 percent of the population), according to the World Bank.

“Corruption and drugs undermine the rule of law, erode peoples’ confidence in the government, fuel insecurity, contribute to poverty and derail development efforts,” said former minister Farooqi.“We all eat corruption and drug money, albeit in different quantities,” said an official in the Finance Ministry who preferred anonymity.

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