Fareed speaks with Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah about corruption, ties with Pakistan, and whether his government would talk with the Taliban if he was elected president. Watch the video for the full exchange, or watch the first part of the interview here.
The question many people have about Afghanistan is about the corruption. There’s a sense that it is sort of out of control. We're talking about bagfuls of cash – millions and tens of millions of dollars – all this international aid that has been provided. Do you have any specific idea about how to deal with this, how to tackle it?
The first thing which is necessary is the recognition of the threat which corruption is posing to the stability in the country and to the wellbeing of the Afghan people.
It’s a serious challenge. It will be a serious challenge. And the first thing which is required is the political will. The political will will be there to deal with it, zero tolerance of corruption [at] the highest level. That is something that the people should feel, the people should sense, the people should see it from the first day of our government. And then, of course, there are certain other issues. There are legislative issues in that regard. There is the issue of law enforcement, rule of law.
As a whole, we think that it’s a priority, and it will be a priority for the future government of Afghanistan and it has to be dealt with in outright manner. Corruption is not just the issue of international assistances. Within the system, nepotism and certain other aspects of this, part of it is due to the problem of drugs, narcotics, in the country. Part of it is the absence of rule of law.
So there will be an opportunity to deal with this challenge. And I'm sure that the people of Afghanistan will be supportive of any effort in this regard, because the people are suffering on a daily basis because of widespread corruption at different levels of the government.