Afghanistan: June 15, 2003


The central government of Afghanistan has been quickly reconstituted, with some 300,000 people on the payroll (no one has the exact number.) Some 40 percent of these civil servants are in Kabul, and make less than $50 a month. So they feel it their right to engage in the ancient practice of bribery. If anyone wants to get past a bureaucrat, they have to pay a bribe, usually many bribes. To make matters worse, when you buy a corrupt official, they often do not stay bought, but keep coming back with new demands. Foreign investors are discouraged and internal investment is stifled as a result. There is also great reluctance to give any reconstruction cash directly to the government, lest most of it be stolen.


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