Saturday, July 5, 2008

Afghan corruption and protest

Fed-up truck drivers strike:

Strike observed against insecurity, police excesses

KANDAHAR CITY, June 26 (PAN): Thousands of drivers in the southwestern zone have gone on strike protesting insecurity and mistreatment by policemen they warned to continue the strike unless the security situation improves.

Instead of maintaining security for the passengers and drivers, drivers complain policemen on the road forcibly take money from them. They blamed the policemen for links with the highway men and armed thieves...

Similarly truck drivers in Spin Boldak district of neighboring southern Kandahar province have also gone on strike and refrain to transport traders and people's goods...

Haji Fazil Ahmad a local custom personnel said no truck had arrived to the province during last few days. Local authorities try to solve the problems, he said.

Col Abdul Ghafor spokesman of the police headquarters in Herat province admitted corruption and forcible money taking by policemen on the highway and said they had sent a delegation to investigate the case. He promised to action against the erring personnels.

70 policemen were arrested last year for similar crimes, he added. (link)
It is perhaps worthy of note that when the Taliban came to power in the 1990's, a key pillar in their support base was the truck drivers' mafia. The Taliban's brand of incorruptible law and order was appealing to truckers, for whom Taliban rule meant much fewer tolls and faster journeys through Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, corruption is rampant inside the government:
Ex-head accuses board of rampant corruption
Top officials taking bribes from highest paid employees, ex-head says

Quqnoos, July 1 - Corruption has reached every level of a commission set up to look into administrative and civil service reform, the former head of the commission has said.

Gullaly Jabarkhil said on Monday the Independent Administration Reform and Civil Service Commission was in serious need of an internal investigation into the way it is run.

"When I stopped one of my employees in the contract department from taking a $10,000 bribe, the commission in Kabul called me in for an investigation," she said... (link)

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