UK Ambassador to Afghanistan Richard Stagg has accepted the involvement of the international community in the expansion of corruption in Afghanistan, although he was clear that ultimate responsibility lies with the Afghan government.
“In some cases we should take some of the blame ourselves as having not spent our own money in a very sensible way,” Stagg said in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews.
“But overall addressing the problem of corruption is an issue of the government of Afghanistan. It’s about setting up the right procedures, the right systems and the right controls to ensure that the use of public money is transparent,” he added.
His comments come after Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview with US media outlet NBC last week that Nato and other foreign donors had to take some responsibility for the country’s rampant corruption.
Stagg went on the reiterate the push of the international community for the Afghan government to do more to curb the graft.
“We do these things on very important issues. We raise it very regularly with the government,” he said.
“We want them to take very firm action on the Kabul Bank which is a very visible symbol of the problem and we want them to give a very high priority to creating systems in government which make corruption less likely and more difficult.”
Corruption has plagued the Afghan government at the highest level, recently recognised as one of the three worst countries in the world in an international survey of public sector corruption released by Transparency International.
On the matter of Pakistan, Stagg pointed to the history between the two countries as one that had previously been amicable.
Pakistan was a friend and benefactor to Afghanistan in the 80s and 90s but the public perception is now unfortunately one of hostility, Stagg said, mainly because of their support of the militant Taliban.
“Pakistan, which 20 years ago perhaps was seen as a benefactor which had taken in large number of refugees and helped Afghanistan during the period of Soviet occupation, is now viewed so negatively by so many people here. I think its correct that by supporting the Taliban they have generated a good deal of hostility in public opinion in Afghanistan,” Stagg said.