Corruption has become a galling global phenomenon: structured, vertically-integrated networks, whose objective is the extraction of resources, are forming in countries around the globe. And strikingly, these structures are masquerading as democratically-elected, seemingly-open governments.
In 2001, fearing ethnic strife, the international community pushed for a strong central government in Kabul. But such fears fostered a system of regional and ethnic patronage. To correct matters, the U.S. should de-emphasize Afghanistan’s ethnic fault lines and push for more devolved and inclusive governance.