Afghan and foreign firms routinely cite corruption as an obstacle to doing business, whether in permitting and licensing, government procurement, meeting regulatory requirements, or taxation. Various corruption watchdog reports regularly indicate corruption is endemic throughout society. For example, systemic corruption at border crossings hampers development of the licit market economy. Afghan officials collect bribes in exchange for undervaluing, under-weighing, or not scanning shipments, which facilitates smuggling of illegal goods and the illicit trade of legal goods, while also weakening Afghan revenue collection and regulatory institutions.
The practice of criminalizing commercial complaints is commonly used to settle business disputes or to extort money from wealthy international investors. The government does not implement criminal penalties for official corruption effectively, and officials are reported to frequently engage in corrupt practices with impunity. There are reports of low-profile corruption cases successfully tried and of lower-level officials removed for corruption.
President Ghani has made anti-corruption efforts a high priority, and the government has seen some success in reform of procurements and customs. In 2016, the government opened the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) to investigate and try corruption cases. The ACJC has successfully convicted some government officials for corruption. These high-level initiatives are positive steps though corruption remains a major issue. Disputes over land and land grabbing have risen over the last decade. Press reports indicate that government officials take land without compensation in exchange for contracts or political favors. Occasionally, provincial governments confiscate land without due process or compensation to build public facilities.
UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery
Afghanistan has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. Afghanistan is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Resources to Report Corruption
The Afghan Government body responsible for combating corruption is the High Office of Oversight & Anti-Corruption. Prosecutorial authority resides with the Attorney General’s Office.
Afghan Government Point of Contact:
Dr. Yama Torabi
Head of Secretariat of High Council on Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption: (HCRoLAC)
+93 799 271 624)
Watchdog Organization Contact:
Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director
Integrity Watch Afghanistan