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Widespread corruption in Afghanistan substantially undermines US efforts to rebuild the county

The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. interagency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan

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FILE - Workers are seen at an area under construction at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA
  • The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. inter-agency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan.
  • Sopko’s report says corruption remains an enormous challenge to security, political stability, and development, and urges the U.S. mission to make anti-corruption efforts a top priority.
  • The corruption lens has got to be in place at the outset, and even before the outset, in the formulation of reconstruction and development strategy

Washington, September 15,2016: Widespread corruption in Afghanistan has substantially undermined U.S. efforts to rebuild the country, according to a report released Wednesday

The U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said corruption has fueled grievances against the Afghan government and channeled material support to the insurgency from the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sopko’s report says corruption remains an enormous challenge to security, political stability, and development, and urges the U.S. mission to make anti-corruption efforts a top priority.

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The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. interagency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan.

Although the United States injected tens of billions of dollars into the Afghan economy, it contributed to the growth of corruption by being slow to recognize the magnitude of the problem, the role of corrupt patronage networks, and the ways in which corruption threatened core U.S. goals. It said certain U.S. policies and practices exacerbated the problem.

‘Endemic’ problem

The report titled, “Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan,” quoted Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who re-opened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks and served again as ambassador in 2011-2012 (and who is a member of Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America) as saying that “the ultimate point of failure for our efforts … wasn’t an insurgency. It was the weight of endemic corruption.”

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“The corruption lens has got to be in place at the outset, and even before the outset, in the formulation of reconstruction and development strategy, because once it gets to the level I saw, it’s somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix,” Crocker said. (VOA)

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US Superbug Infections Rising, but Deaths Falling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated about 36,000 Americans died from drug-resistant infections in 2017

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US, Superbug, Infections
Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria. (Credit: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). VOA

Drug-resistant “superbug” infections have been called a developing nightmare that make conquered germs once again untreatable.US

So there’s some surprising news in a federal report released Wednesday: U.S. superbug deaths appear to be going down.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated about 36,000 Americans died from drug-resistant infections in 2017. That’s down 18% from 2013.

US, Superbug, Infections
So there’s some surprising news in a federal report released Wednesday: U.S. superbug deaths appear to be going down. Pixabay

Officials credit an intense effort in hospitals to control the spread of particularly dangerous infections.

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But while deaths are going down, the report says infections overall increased nationally. And while superbugs mainly have been considered a hospital problem, they are appearing much more often elsewhere. (VOA)