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Karzai admits corruption assuming epidemic proportions in Afghanistan

June 22, 2012 - Kabul

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has urged his government to step up the fight against the corruption that has tarnished his administration's credibility over the years.

"Corruption has reached its peak in this country. It is our responsibility to improve. If we heal this pain, then Afghanistan will be independent and progressive." Karzai said.

Karzai's remarks came ahead of an international conference aimed at collecting billions more in foreign aid for Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports.

According to the paper, Karzai offered few specifics about possible new measures to address corruption, but he also asked 'the foreigners, America and other countries, to not award their construction, building and commercial contracts to the government authorities and their relatives.'

"This is a debate that I have had with them for the past four years. This causes corruption in the Afghan administration. If America wants corruption to stop, then stop this," Karzai added.

According to the paper, Afghans linked to government officials have profited handsomely over the years from U.S. contracts.

The report said that Karzai's address appeared to be an attempt to begin changing the narrative about his government's ability to handle the flood of funds that the US and other NATO countries intend to keep sending to Afghanistan, even after the bulk of U.S. troops withdraw by the end of 2014.


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