Afghanistan: January 22, 2002


An International Donor's conference pledged $4.5 billion to rebuild Afghanistan. Some $1.8 billion is to be delivered this year. The Afghans said they would have an international accounting firm audit the disbursement of the money to avoid the corruption that is so common in the country. Interim leader Hamid Karzai is finding that the only power he will have will be this money. The warlords, large and small, are already carving up the country and will not pay attention to the central government unless there is a good reason. Money is considered a good reason. But using money to make the provincial leaders obey, while an ancient Afghan practice, is today considered fiscal corruption and won't be tolerated by the international donor community. Moreover, before the end of the year, there will probably be a new government, as after six months the Loya Jirga is to be held and a new leader selected. The new leader may well be the present one, but maybe not. 


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