Afghanistan

U.S. to Ease Up on Corruption Fight

Corruption may be rampant among Afghan officials, but for the time being, dealing with it will not be a priority for the United States. Military commanders are shifting to a strategy which would see them look the other way on some corruption because they are worried about creating power vacuums for the Taliban to exploit. "There are areas where you need strong leadership, and some of those leaders are not entirely pure," said a senior defense official. "But they can help us be more effective in going after the primary threat, which is the Taliban." Until now, the U.S. had taken a hard line on graft in Afghan government, which seemed to reach all the way up to President Hamid Karzai’s senior aides—one of them was recently arrested (and later determined to be on the CIA’s payroll). The strategy has been developed primarily by the military and it is unclear how far the White House and State Department are willing to back it.