“I have a lot of things to say, but I am not allowed to say them,” Faqiryar said from behind the door. “This government is so corrupt, and it is run by a small number of individuals who are very powerful. They don’t like intruders, and don’t want people putting their noses in their business. These people are very evil.”
Dexter Filkins walks us through the streets of Kabul and into the heart of corruption in Afghanistan at Kabulbank.
America collaborates with a high level of corruption. At best our government turns a blind eye for its own political purposes. We have made official noises about it in the past, but no longer. Witness Filkins' description of two meetings Joe Biden held with Afghan president Hamid Kharzai tells the tale.
In February, 2008, Joe Biden, then a senator, arrived with two colleagues at the presidential palace for a dinner with Karzai. Biden got right to the point, people with knowledge of the meeting said, pressing Karzai to address the hideous level of corruption in his government. In a fashion later described as bordering on the surreal, Karzai denied that graft was a serious issue in Afghanistan and changed the subject. Biden persisted. Karzai offered Biden plates of lamb and rice; Biden pressed about corruption. Finally, Biden threw his napkin on the table and stood up. “This dinner is over,” he said, and he walked out of the room.
Earlier this month, Vice-President Biden returned to Kabul. But, according to Afghans with knowledge of the visit, this time the two leaders got along splendidly. The two men had talked on the phone before Biden’s arrival to smooth the way. Biden thanked Karzai for his efforts. Their meeting, originally scheduled to be brief, went on for more than an hour, officials at the American Embassy said.
When the meeting ended, Biden and Karzai stood before a group of American and Afghan reporters. They took no questions. Instead, Biden read a prepared statement making clear what America intended to do in Afghanistan and, more important, not do. He turned and faced President Karzai.
“Let me say it plainly, Mr. President, it is not our intention to govern or to nation-build,” Biden said.
“Wonderful,” Karzai said.
And the two men walked out of the room.
That's Joe Biden before the Obama Era -- and Joe Biden during the Obama Era.
More details about the investigation into Kabulbank and its relationship(s) with top officials in the Karzai government can be found in this report in the Washington Post.