Ex-UN official accuses Afghan leaders of rapacious corruption, worsening situation

DailyTimes  |  Jul 24, 2021

A former United Nations official, who has served in Afghanistan, holds the Afghan leaders responsible for the deteriorating situation there, saying they had enough time to transform the country, but did nothing much except indulging in “rapacious corruption,” according to an article published in The Diplomat, a Washington-based online magazine.

“Despite all of the hand-wringing and finger pointing in Kabul amid the looming crisis, Afghan leaders have had more than enough time and resources to have transformed their country and undercut the Taliban’s appeal and ideology,” Aidai Masylkanova, a visiting fellow at Harvard University, who served as a political officer in the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in 2012-2013, wrote. “For a small nation that has gotten more than a trillion dollars of military and economic support, its leaders have little to show except for continuing and rapacious corruption,” she wrote under the headline: In ‘Afghanistan, Deja Vu All Over Again’ – a reference to her observations when the US once set 2014 as the year to begin its troop withdrawal from the country.

In the end, Masylkanova, a Kyrgyz national, said, Afghanistan has squandered an opportunity to transform itself, while noting that as it reverts to the tribalism, its future as a nation is indeed bleak.

At the outset, the author referred to her 8-year-old article entitled “Is Afghanistan a Sinking Boat? Anxiety about U.S Withdrawal 2014,” saying she observed the panic among the local population, especially the ethnic minorities such as Hazaras, Tajiks, and Uzbeks who feared that they would be targeted again by the Taliban once U.S forces began drawing down in 2014.

“The Afghan generals I interviewed were pessimistic too. They expected that the Taliban would most likely take over the country as soon as the foreign forces departed. Women feared that all the gains achieved since 2001 would be lost, sentiments shared by human rights activists. “That was eight years ago. The latest news on Afghanistan inspires a strong sense of deja vu. Today, Afghanistan is indeed a sinking boat as U.S. forces finally are departing, a process to be completed by August 31 according to the Biden administration. As predicted, the Taliban are on a strategic offensive, taking over townships and controlling key transportation routes and encircling Kabul, causing an unprecedented deflation of morale in the ranks of the Afghan military and police,” Ms. Masylkanova stated.

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