Robert Gates’ call to fight corruption will be welcomed in Afghanistan

The US Defense Secretary’s call for international donors to fight corruption in Afghanistan is likely to have the support of the Afghan people, Oxfam said today.

New research by the international aid agency shows that 48 per cent of Afghan surveyed thought corruption and government weakness was one of the key causes of conflict in the country, second only to poverty and unemployment.

Speaking yesterday at President Karzai’s inauguration, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the international community should do more to ensure their aid does not encourage corruption in Afghanistan.

Ashley Jackson, Oxfam’s head of policy in Afghanistan, said: “Afghans know huge amounts of money are flowing into their country but most of them are still living in abject poverty. This causes real resentment. Many Afghans we interviewed for our research told us they want to see their government free of corruption at all levels and for more aid to reach those who need it most.

“The international community has a big role to play here. Some international aid from governments is delivered inefficiently and Afghans are well aware of the waste that occurs - for example going through layers of contractors, and money is often wasted or lost to graft.

“Oxfam – and no doubt many ordinary Afghans – will welcome Robert Gates’ call to fight corruption and make sure aid money is well-used.”

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Download the report: The Cost of War, Afghan Experience of Conflict, 1978- 2009.

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Oxfam's emergency work in Afghanistan

Notes to editors

Oxfam has interviewees available to talk about Robert Gates’ speech and corruption in Afghanistan, either in the UK or Afghanistan.

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