Corruption has become part of our culture in Afghanistan as if it is an acceptable way to live. Those who are more corrupt are more successful: they get government VIP posts, they have the best cars and houses, their children can go abroad for education, and people listen to them and obey them.

It has become a widely held belief that, “I am not alone in the ship of corruption, and even if I stop, another person will continue.”

This makes me feel angry and disappointed for the future. For ordinary people corruption is an unsolved puzzle. They ask themselves, “How can we live in the same city, the same country, practice the same religion, yet we cannot earn more than 3000 Afghani in a month while another person with less or no education is not satisfied with less than 30,000 per month?”

The hearts of people are filled with hope and prayers for peace, for a better future, and for ending corruption in our country. When Ashraf Ghani became President people thought he could do something for our Afghanistan because he is highly educated and he has a very bright background, having worked in the World Bank and spending much of his life abroad, especially in the United States. People hoped he could bring changes. 

President Ghani recently announced that he was asking mullahs and Islam scholars to announce a Jihad against corruption. I was shocked and surprised by the President’s announcement. I wanted him to understand better the current situation of our country, I wanted him to care for our poor people, I wanted him to make a plan. Jihad is not a plan.

I believe that having a good government can remove corruption. Believing in democracy, having honesty in our policies along with a promise to work hard can help us abolish corruption. I think that in order to fight and remove corruption we need action according to the law. This can be solved step-by-step with good governance. Rules and orders that are respected by the people will give positive results in the long run.

Corruption definitely has solutions under the protection of law. But we must follow the rules, the same as we follow rules in sports and driving in traffic. You can’t box with your feet. If I crash my car into the mosque for not following the driving rules, no prayers will save me then. I want to say clearly that Jihad and Jihad and Jihad cannot end corruption in Afghanistan.

The image I have when I hear the word Jihad is offensive.  I have seen Mujahideen ruin my country in the name of Jihad. The Taliban kills millions of innocent people in the name of Jihad and the worst of all, now I watch innocent people being killed by ISIS in the name of Jihad. I see people enjoying their lives in high style, who are named champions of Jihad, and on the other corner I see my poor people barely surviving and worse. This is the mask of Jihad.

I think that President Ghani could easily say that he has been unsuccessful fighting against corruption and could honestly confess that he is unable to make concrete, informed decisions about it. Rather than using the religious terminology, we Afghan people must work together along with the government to find solutions for the problems of corruption. We cannot remove corruption with Jihad, Allah Akbar, and Alhamdulillah. Jihad has ruined half of our lives and the next half must not be destroyed by it.

By Pari

Photo: Patrick Tsui/FCO