Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance [February 10, 2011]   [open pdf - 804KB]

From the Summary: "The limited capacity and widespread corruption of all levels of Afghan governance are growing factors in debate over the effectiveness of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, as expressed in an Administration assessment of policy released December 16, 2010. A competent, respected, and effective Afghan government is considered a major prerequisite for a transition to Afghan leadership that is to take place by 2014, a timeframe agreed to by the United States, its international partners, and the Afghan government. Afghan governing capacity has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001, but many positions, particularly at the local level, are unfilled or governing functions are performed by unaccountable power brokers. On corruption, the issue that perhaps most divides the United States from the government of President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leadership is accepting U.S. help to build emerging anti-corruption institutions, but these same institutions have sometimes caused a Karzai backlash when they have targeted his allies or relatives. Effects of corruption burst into public view in August 2010 when the large Kabul Bank nearly collapsed due in part to losses on large loans to major shareholders, many of whom are close to Karzai. Some in Congress have sought to link further U.S. aid to clearer progress on the corruption issue."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21922
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