Washington, June 13 (ANI): Military intelligence officers in Afghanistan are scouring seized documents and interrogating captured fighters and facilitators, not just to learn about insurgent networks that plan attacks, plant roadside explosives and send out suicide bombers, but also incidents of corruption.
According to the New York Times, they are also looking for insights on how to combat a widespread perversion of authority by Afghan power brokers, which senior officials describe as "a plague" on the American-backed effort to build an effective and competent government and win the support of the Afghan people.
The paper further says that the United States and its NATO allies may find themselves following leads that point to the top levels of government, because even close family members of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai have been accused of engaging in the drug trade and enriching themselves with lucrative business deals.
American contractors are among those accused of wrongdoing, and some in the United States government have been known to look the other way rather than upset Mr. Karzai.
The new military anti-corruption effort is a joint operation with Afghan law enforcement and judicial authorities.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that some in Afghanistan, including one of Karzai's former top intelligence aides, complained that the Afghan president himself was increasingly mistrustful of the United States and had talked of cutting his own agreement with the Taliban.
A central goal in the Obama administration's counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, which is commanded by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is to win over the country's population.
That goal requires persuading the Afghan people to support the central government in Kabul and not shadow Taliban governments that exist in many provinces.
To that end, anti-corruption efforts are every bit as important as killing or capturing militants, if not more so, according to senior officers involved in the effort. (ANI)