About Time

Afghanistan Up for Sale

How goes governance in Afghanistan? In today's New York Times, Dexter Filkins files a report from Afghanistan, noting that “the state built on the ruins of the Taliban government seven years ago now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.” Nearly everything can be bought—freedom from jail, trial verdicts, and positions in the police force. People in the highest levels of the Afghan government, including President Hamid Karzai’s brother, are cooperating in the opium trade. “This government has lost the capacity to govern because a shadow government has taken over,” said Afghanistan’s former foreign finance minister. According to a study this year by Transparency International, a German organization that monitors honesty in government, Afghanistan ranks 176 out of 180 countries.