Afghan aid must not fuel corruption: Gates

Afghan aid must not fuel corruption: Gates


"The reality is that the international presence in Afghanistan has provided a significant influx of assistance dollars and contracts and so on," Gates told reporters ahead of an international defence summit.

"So it seems to me that the place for us to start is to deal with corruption that may be associated with contracts we're letting or work that we're having done and development projects that we're undertaking in partnership with others including with the Afghans," he said yesterday.

"I think the place to start is the place where we have the greatest leverage and that's where we're writing the checks."

Gates's comments at a joint press conference with Canada's defense minister follow the inauguration on Thursday of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who now faces intense pressure to stem corruption in his country.

The defence secretary's stance echoed that of Secretary of States Hillary Clinton, who this week in Kabul said the United States was working to track development aid.

"As we call for accountability from others, we will hold ourselves accountable as well," she said.

Karzai has earned the opprobrium of the international community since a fraud-tainted election highlighted the massive levels of official corruption in Afghanistan.

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