The United Nations Human Rights office has issued its latest report on Afghanistan, noting that despite enormous amounts of international civilian aid much of the nation struggles with devastating poverty.
Though the international community has pumped some $35 billion in economic aid into the nation since the beginning of the US occupation, little progress has been made on providing even basic services to most of the population. Only 23 percent, for instance, have access to safe drinking water. 76 percent were driven from their home at least once during the past year.
The report cites the war as an issue, certainly, but it points to widespread corruption within the Karzai government as the major reason for the lack of progress. Corruption is a way of life in Afghanistan, and bribes are extorted as a matter of course for even basic services.
The issue of corruption has taken on new resonance recently as the Pentagon has warned that success in the war will depend in large measure on wiping out this corruption. Despite these claims there appears to be little NATO is able to do about the corruption, and even less indication that the Karzai government will give the issue more than lip service.