On June 30, 2018, in Kabul, Integrity Watch hosted a national conference on cultivating integrity in the public institutions, Afghan society and the international community.
Executive Director of Integrity Watch, Sayed Ikram Afzali, who opened the conference stated that if there were a strong sense of integrity among the stakeholders in Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2001, the country would have been self-reliant by now. He added that the solution to the current crisis of trust and pervasive corruption is not quick impact projects to increase transparency but a long-term vision and mission to cultivate integrity in the Afghan government and society as well as international community.
John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) appreciated the efforts of Integrity Watch to hold its government accountable and promote integrity. He stated, “We have been eyes and ears of US taxpayers in Afghanistan and Integrity Watch has become eyes and ears of us in this mission.” Mr. Sopko added that, “Our times is like the Tale of Two Cities of Charles Dickens: it is the best of times and worst of times. It depends on the Afghans to utilize the opportunity to lead their country to prosperity or the dragons of terrorism and corruption would stay.”
Speaking at the event Minister of Public Works H.E. Yama Yari said, “There is a need for a coalition of reformers within the Afghan government, civil society, media and religious leaders to fight the menace of corruption.” He called on his fellow Afghans that “There is a need to stand side by side in the fight against corruption as you stand side by side every day to offer prayer to the Almighty.”
Hundreds of civil society activists from across the country and the capital had a productive discussion with a panel of distinguished speakers from the Afghan parliament, Ministry of Education, and Supreme Court. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to initiate a dialogue on cultivating integrity in public institutions.