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Afghan Graft Doubles Since 2007

Anti-corruption NGO Integrity Watch Afghanistan said its latest survey shows that bribery in the country has doubled since 2007 and now costs Afghans about $1 billion a year.

One in seven Afghan adults pay bribes directly, and two thirds said their household was deprived of at least one public service due to corruption. The police, courts, and administrative services demanded the highest number of bribes. But the biggest bribes, averaging $180, were paid for education and health sevices.

The survey confirmed that the rural poor are most susceptible to public graft.

Half of the 6,200 respondents in 32 provinces said corruption fosters the expansion of the Taliban. One third said graft causes conflicts at the local level, mainly related to land issues.

Report author Lorenzo Delesgues said: "It reduces the legitimacy of the state, it gives more legitimacy to the Taliban. More than half of the respondents think that the Taliban are gaining ground because of corruption of the Afghan state."

Integrity Watch said the survey demonstrates that bribery is not part of Afghan culture. Ninety percent of the respondents said they felt guilty when paying a bribe.

View the full survey and related materials here.