An Open Letter to President Karzai and President Obama

Kabul, 6 January 2013, Afghan Anti-Corruption Network.

It is announced that H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and H.E. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America will meet this week in the US and will discuss Afghanistan’s issues. Recently heads of both countries signed the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership, which is an important bilateral agreement for both nations that can equally contribute to the security, stability and prosperity of both countries.

Since 2001 Afghanistan with the support of the international community, particularly with the support of the US has accomplished lots of achievements. The achievements are not limited to the security. It is in every aspect of life, including, education, health, freedom of speech, governance.

Because of the widespread corruption, weak management and lack of accountability mechanism within the Afghan government and the donor community, the government has not succeeded to use the huge support of the international community effectively and improve the livelihood of Afghan people. And despite billions of USD aids to Afghanistan, the majority of the Afghan people is still living under the poverty line and corruption considered as one of the biggest threat for the stability of Afghanistan.

It is a very important and vital period of time in Afghanistan. Because from one hand the country is going under the Transition process and from the other hand it should prepare for the decade of Transformation. The increased corruption can be a barrier in front of the Transition and Transformation process.

Afghanistan does not need only military support, but for the permanent solutions it also requires civilian and political cooperation. In last one decade much of the international community efforts have been focused on military aspects and solutions. But based on the fact and reality on the ground it is the time to shift the focus and efforts to civilian and development. In order not to ruin the investments, Afghanistan and its international allies should work on long-term strategic solutions: good governance, rule of law, justice, human and women’s rights, and fighting corruption.

Supporting Presidential Decree Number 45 for combating corruption and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, the AACN urges H.E. President Hamid Karzai and H.E. President Barack Obama to don’t ignore the issue of corruption and kindly consider the following recommendations during their discussions.

The main cause of insecurity, instability, poppy cultivation, drug trafficking and gap among the local people, the government and the international community is the corruption. So the Afghan government and the international community should put fighting against corruption in their priorities and don’t compromise the issue of corruption.

Weak rule of law, existence of impunity circles and safe havens of corrupt individuals and officials inside of Afghanistan and abroad, are the factors of growing mafia, violation of human rights and injustice. To provide justice the Afghan government and international community should close these save havens, eliminate the immunity system, create a special court for the corrupt officials and accusation of corruption should be audited, investigated and prosecuted under the law.

Based on the Afghan constitution and the election calendar announced by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, in 2014 Afghanistan will go under a political transition process through elections. Transparency of the elections is very important for the better and stable future of Afghanistan. The Afghan government should guaranty reform in the election commission and endorse a comprehensive electoral law and over sighting mechanism of the elections, which will assure the transparency of the election and the legitimacy of the future government. So the US government and the international community should help Afghanistan for holding of a free, fair, credible and inclusive election.

Afghan people and media outlets don’t have enough access to the information, which is their constitutional right. This can further provide impunity to corrupt officials and facilitate corruption. In order to properly oversight activities of the government the vibrant Afghan media, civil society and public should have access to the information. So the Afghan government should immediately endorse a comprehensive law on access to information.

The blame game and lack of a strong political willing of the Afghan government and its international partners to fight corruption in the absence of an inclusive mechanism for transparency and accountability has resulted to more corruption within the government, private sectors, INGOs and NOGs in Afghanistan. The US, Afghan governments and the international community should make a coordinated and comprehensive mechanism and involve all the relevant sectors, particularly the civil society and media to oversight the implementation of any strategy against corruption.

As a sovereign and independent nation, we admit our responsibility for fighting corruption and we will do with our utmost to fight corruption, but it does not mean that our international partners should ignore their responsibility. As a civil society organizations and activists, we are committed to use all our efforts and measures for eliminating corruption and promote good governance. We also urge the Afghan and the US governments to guarantee implementation of the Tokyo, Chicago and Bonn conferences’ decisions and to recognize the role of civil society in the fight against corruption and support them.

In July 2012 the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework was endorsed by the Afghan government and the international community, but still there is a lack of comprehensive and coordinated approach for implementation of the framework. We urge the international community, particularly the US and Afghan governments to fully implement the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.

The AACN warns, if the legitimate concerns of the Afghan citizens are not considered by the Afghan government and its international partners, the achievements of last one decade will be wasted and Afghanistan will face a permanent crisis. And the Afghan government and the international community will be responsible for any consequence.

AACN Background

Afghan Anti-Corruption Network is the first and largest volunteer, social, non-profit, non-political and non-governmental organizations and activists’ network, which has been established based on article 35 of the constitution of Afghanistan to support transparency, the role of law, coordinate and strengthen the civil society in order to fight against corruption for having a corruption free state.


Dr. Shukrullah Mashkoor
Public Relations Director and Spokesperson
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