Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director | @SIAfzali

The French political philosopher Montesquieu, in The Spirit of the Laws, argued long ago that separation of powers between the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary is a fundamental safeguard against tyranny and misuse of power. After the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Afghan state was supposedly built based on the same model of separation of powers. However, in reality, the emphasis has been on the distribution of power among the corrupt elite rather than the separation of powers. This has led to state capture by corruption networks and tyranny in the form of corruption. After more than one and a half decades of such unsustainable and counterproductive efforts at state-building, history may well be on the verge of repeating itself.

Fundamental mistakes were made both in the design and practice of establishing a viable State since 2001. While entrusting too much power in the executive branch of an overly centralized state is a design problem, the executive has negatively influenced and has even corrupted both the legislative and the judiciary in practice. As a result, checks and balances have been undermined and corruption has prevailed in all state institutions. Our National Corruption Survey findings indicate that people face corruption in almost all state institutions which has destroyed public perception about the government and has ripped off the necessary public support for state-building. In fact, our successive surveys show that the spread of corruption helps the spread of insurgency. Continue reading…