The Corruption-Security Nexus: Lessons from Afghanistan (Part 2)

This spring has been a season of reckoning with regard to anticorruption efforts in Afghanistan, with two important reports on that topic released last February. The first report, a study on the relationship between corruption and stability in conflict and post-conflict zones from Transparency International (TI) Germany, was the subject of my last post. The second study, was  the U.S. military published a report prepared by the Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis (JCOA) Division of the Joint Staff. The JCOA study is disheartening, with the report’s key findings amounted to an admission that U.S. forces initially contributed to corruption in Afghanistan. Indeed, the report finds that actions on the part of the International Security Assistance Force, the Afghan government, and the Afghan population fostered a “culture of impunity,” and that even where military taskforces made progress in fighting corruption, lack of unity and a lack of Afghan political will frustrated the taskforces’ headway.

The JCOA report offers recommendations for operationalizing what it refers to as Counter/Anti-Corruption (CAC) in the future term in Afghanistan and suggesting ways to optimize CAC from Day 1 in future missions. One of the major, and potentially fruitful tasks, will be to integrate fully CAC into counterinsurgency (COIN). I would supplement the JCOA Division’s recommendations with several additional suggestions: Continue reading