With the American redefinition of the Afghan war being announced by President Obama last week some in Afghanistan may think they can now breathe a sigh of relief. After all, the occupying force is leaving, albeit there will still be many thousands of American contractors remaining in the country, but it is it the beginning of the end.
Those who know anything about American foreign policy over the last hundred years will understand that the effects of occupation last well beyond the time final soldier heads for home. Colonialism by its very nature is about economic, political and social hegemony and not just physical military occupation.
Afghanistan is a country that has not really known peace for more than a century, let alone the last decade. A constant state of war and fighting has gripped the mountain land. The recent attack on the intercontinental Hotel is just once legacy of American occupation. The fact that two former bank chiefs are on trial for their part in the failure of the Kabul Bank may to seem on the surface like progress, corruption can only be redressed with the strength of the law.
Just like the Western world where greedy bankers were blamed for the near collapse of a number of high profile banks, Sherkhan Farnood and Khalilullah Ferozi stand accused of allowing Kabul Bank to get to the point of near failure; it was eventually rescued by a bail-out from the Afghan Central Bank. Prosecutors have also issued an arrest warrant for Abdul Qadeer Fitrat a former governor of the Central Bank. It has been reported that Firat resigned his position and fled to the US because he feared for his life after exposing other frauds involving high ranked officials including the brother of President Hamid Karzai. The entire Afghan banking sector is currently one big mess.
The accusations against the three include corruption, issuing of unauthorised loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the unauthorised printing of money. The kind of activities a more common to a banana republic, a category Greece has recently joined.
As Greece is finding out the Economy of any nation is pivotal to its future strength and success otherwise you are left at the behest of the IMF sharks who will dictate policy that will lead to ruin. The crisis at Kabul Bank is just a taste of what is to come under the capitalist banking model which is being implemented in Afghanistan. Even a strong political leadership and stronger regulation would never be able to stop the banks playing roulette with ordinary peoples money, the banking bust in the UK has clearly shown this. The troubles at Kabul Bank have put into jeopardy the salaries of teachers, those in the army and policeman in an already poverty ravaged country.
Hamid Karzai for his part is putting the blame squarely on ‘foreign advisors’ for creating the crisis however it is more than advice that is the problem here, it is the attitude of ‘copy-and-paste’ economics. Afghanistan is indicative of the kind of problems which plague the wider Muslim world.
Despite everything that is occurring in the heart of the liberal world there is still a longing desire (amongst the ruling elite) to be like the ‘West’, maybe it is because there is a quick buck to be made.
Long after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghani soil (if they ever do) and long after the names of the three F’s Farnood, Ferozi and Fitrat are but a distant memory the disaster that capitalism creates will live on.
Corruption and mismanagement is just a by-product of Western banking practice, in the West it is called ‘white collar crime’ in the East they simply call a thief a thief.
Only a move towards and the implementation of the Islamic economic system via the Khilafah will improve the lives of ordinary Muslims in Afghanistan. Until then the Muslims will be occupied physically, economically and politically by the failed systems and ideology of the colonial powers.