Violence, Followed By More Violence

While suicide bombers get most of the headlines, corruption in the government and throughout Afghan society is less newsworthy, but far more important. Thousands of Afghan officials and businessmen stealing billions of dollars doesn’t make for exciting news, but it’s more of an obstacle to peace than the murderous mayhem of the Taliban. In theory, the Taliban are fighting to eliminate corruption, but few Afghans believe that. When the Taliban were in charge during the 1990s, they were corrupt. The Islamic conservative politicians in Iran (where they run the place) and Pakistan (where they run parts of the tribal territories) are notoriously corrupt. All this stealing and general dishonesty has made Afghanistan a very unpleasant place. Afghanistan ranks at or near the bottom in every survey of living standards. For example, a recent global survey on motherhood found Norway was the best place to be a mother, and Afghanistan was the worst. Aid groups that specialize in medical care are finding out the gruesome details. One American Special Forces medic, who was also a history buff, noted that old (healed) wounds and injuries he found on many Afghans were identical to 19th century medical photos he had studied. This made sense, as most Afghans had no access to modern medical care. ¬†More do these days, but most still live without much modern technology or amenities. For most Afghans, a cell phone is magic, and something they can aspire too. Honest government and a civil society (rule of law) is considered a fantasy that may come true someday.


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