Building Integrity in Afghanistan

  • Last updated: 07 Oct. 2011 15:41

Fighting systemic corruption in Afghanistan is a commitment for the long haul. It is a commitment that both the Afghan government and NATO have made as part of the Building Integrity (BI) programme, which is an integral part of the NATO-Afghanistan enduring partnership.

On 8-15 September 2011, a BI Peer Review team visited Kabul to discuss ways of taking the programme forward with Afghan and other NATO and international counterparts. The team was led by Ambassador Van Hoorn from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and was supported by experts from the UK, the US Naval Postgraduate School of Monterey, and Transparency International (UK). Working closely with the NATO Training Mission–Afghanistan (NTM-A) and the US-LED Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, the group met with senior representatives of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and representatives of the international community.

The primary aim of this visit was to finalise the BI Peer Review Report. The report draws on the BI self-assessment completed earlier in the year by the Afghan Ministries of Defence and Industry. It was agreed that a tailored BI programme for both Ministries be developed as part of the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership. The programme will include a proposal to establish a BI Centre as part of the Afghan National Security University, which would support both ministries and establish practical measures to reduce the risk of corruption in the security sector. The ministries have agreed to give priority to developing resource management systems and procedures that strengthen transparency, accountability and integrity in the ANSF. These efforts will support the decision of international donors to increase the amount of financial assistance provided to Afghan Ministries. 

Combating corruption

While in Kabul, the BI team exchanged views with Afghan Minister of Defence Wardak and representatives of Mr Mohammadi, the Minister of the Interior.  They also met with Dr Ghani, Senior Adviser and Transition Process Head. All underlined the importance of taking action to reduce the risk of corruption in the security sector and contributing to the Afghan government’s efforts to combat corruption.

The visitors also conducted a series of roundtable discussions with representatives of the international community based in Kabul, highlighting NATO plans to develop a tailored programme to build integrity and reduce the risk of corruption in the Afghan Security Forces. More than 40 representatives from NATO member countries, partners, troop-contributing nations and others took part. The discussions led to a better understanding of the impact of corruption on security and how to reduce the risk of corruption in the security sector. The NATO BI team confirmed their willingness to collaborate with others who share common interests and objectives for sustainable security in Afghanistan.

The way forward

The ANSF BI programme will implement recommendations made at the NATO Summit in Lisbon to assist the Afghan government in supporting the security sector through building integrity, strengthening transparency and accountability, as well as developing practical tools and mechanisms to reduce the risks of corruption.  BI leadership courses will also be held in Kabul in early December to develop an Afghan BI training team. 

The Building Integrity Trust Fund is supported by voluntary contributions and led by Norway, Poland, Switzerland and the UK.