Afghanistan: October 21, 2003


The government is in the process of firing some 30,000 uniformed and civilian members of the Ministry of Defense. Another 20,000 were fired last year. These were all put on the payroll after the Taliban were defeated, as a way of "rewarding" the groups that helped fight the Taliban. But foreign aid donors were not willing to provide money just to pay for patronage jobs, and president Karzai realized that these employees were demanding, and wasting,  more money and resources. But dismissing these people, who are mostly non-Pushtun, causes unrest in the north, and doesn't always please the Pushtuns (who feel that the patronage jobs should stay, and Pushtuns should have them.) It's not easy being an honest politician in Afghanistan.


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