When it comes to corroding people's faith in their leadership, nothing is more effective than rampant corruption.
Since our ostensible goal in Afghanistan is to establish a stable, peaceful government, it makes sense that stamping out corruption would be in our best interests. When it's so pervasive, though, where does one even begin?
There are fabulous amounts of money washing around in a place that has only known poverty for centuries. It's not that the Afghans are any more corrupt than anyone else. If the opportunity exists, and there's no oversight to speak of, any typical person will take whatever he can.
Singapore, I read somewhere, has one of the cleanest governments in the world. As I recall, it's because the prime minister, who is in effect a dictator, decreed that the penalty for corruption by a government official is death.
Singapore also has closed-circuit cameras to catch people spitting in elevators, as well as sirens and flashers on vehicles that activate if their drivers exceed the speed limit, so one can go overboard in maintaining public order.
Probably the best--and only--way to cure the problem of government corruption in Afghanistan is for us to pack up our loot and go home. In a matter of weeks, there wouldn't be any government left to corrupt.