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Afghan president issues decree to curb corruption

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is under pressure to do more to battle corruption, has issued an ambitious list of government reforms that orders his ministries, prosecutors and judiciary to fight bribery, nepotism and cronyism.

Karzai's 23-page decree also instructs officials to clear the attorney general's office and the courts of languishing corruption-related cases and do more than talk about bringing crooked figures to justice.

Donor nations have long expressed concern about corruption within the government, and $16 billion in aid pledged this month at a Tokyo conference is tied to a new monitoring process. Karzai has blamed international contracting procedures for some of the problem.

In the decree, Karzai also repeated his request that high-ranking officials or their relatives do not get rebuilding contracts. He also demanded that ministries and other departments write progress reports on a myriad of issues — including efforts to resolve traffic problems in the congested capital, Kabul.

The decree, issued late Thursday, is similar to an executive order, but is ambiguous about what happens to those who don't comply. It also does not spell out who will pay for the government cleansing that Karzai proposed.

Political analyst Jawid Kohistani said he did not think the decree would stave off corruption in the government.

"Karzai is acting late on corruption," he said Friday. "We have anticorruption laws. … It is hard to just remove corruption by a decree. He should start to remove corruption from inside the palace."

Afghan president issues decree to curb corruption 07/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 11:31pm]

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