That those in high political places see opportunities for themselves in the generous funding that emanates from wealthy nations proffering aid to the disadvantaged nations of the world, in a spirit of genuine brotherhood aided and abetted by pangs of guilt. The countries of the West, those very countries which managed to become 'civilized' while others still savagely beset one another harbour the heartache of regret for past misdemeanors.
When they were lustily and greedily occupying third-world countries and exploiting the natural resources for their own enrichment while sometimes brutally, sometimes paternalistically administering the affairs of those countries as their personal resource-treasuries, they considered themselves entitled to do so. Now, in retrospect, they bemoan their previous state of errant empire building and declare themselves everlastingly guilty of abuse of human rights.
To assuage collective consciences, the wealthy countries of the world have been busying themselves sending along vast sums of money to enable their poor cousins, left with the heritage of governance, civil infrastructure, social welfare and jurisprudence, to administer themselves to the very best of their abilities. Alas, the very best of their abilities appear to have succumbed to reverencing tribal animosities.
In some of those formerly exploited colonial countries the success of building upon the framework of democratic governance, civil service and infrastructure, state security and legal systems has led to success; in so many others it has been truncated, becoming a weak facsimile of the original, a pretense, a macabre shield against the truth of failure to build a functioning society.
Very little of those international funds dribble their way down to the people who need it. As evidenced in improved health care, child and maternal health, literacy, employment opportunities, civil administrations - all dreadfully lacking. Those who hold power in autocratic quasi-democratic countries permit very little to flow down to staunch the tide of poverty and disease. Even in South Africa, Nelson Mandela laments that very fact.
The West simply cannot stand the blame hurled at it by its formerly exploited colonies. Wincing, it turns its pockets inside out and drains its treasuries to plow billions after billions into failed economies and state institutions led by inept and corrupt leaders who prey on their own people. And why should Afghanistan be any different, after all? Even while Canada and other NATO countries have invested vast wealth into the country, there is little to show.
There are ample opportunities for ramp ceremonies, where young people representing the NATO and UN-allied military under ISAF, do their utmost to meet the challenges of battling an insurgency that in no way resembles a regular armed force, but which strikes where and when it can, silently, covertly, deadly. And where a corrupt administration threatens to make peace with its enemy the Taliban, while urging foreign countries to give even more.
Now, the unsurprising but still meddlesome revelation that billions in cash representing foreign-aid funding for humanitarian needs in the country keeps flowing out of the country, enriching those very corrupt government officials that the Afghan population deplores and detests. The money, packed neatly in suitcases, even stacked on pallets, is flown to Dubai.
Customs records are meticulously maintained for this is considered an entirely legal procedure. Senior politicians and other officials on their way to Dubai can more casually smuggle out unregistered sums of cash; those using a VIP lane at Kabul airport simply bypass the checks. The Afghan Ministry of Finance itself estimates $9-million daily to be flying out of the country.
Kabul airport's chief customs officer explains helpfully that his staff bows to pressure to allow cash through when they discover smuggling to be taking place. When, he explained, a pile of millions of dollars was being sent en route to Dubai, undeclared, "there was lots of pressure from my higher ups. It came from very, very senior people. They told me there was an arrangement with the central bank and told me to let it go."
The Islamic 'honour' system of money transference across the globe is effected here through the use of couriers, part of the hawala money transfer network. Thus, there is honour in smuggling money received through international aid transfers meant to build health clinics, schools, courthouses, and to offer medical and social services to the Afghan people.
Moreover, President Karzai is still busy on his very particular mission to palaver with the Taliban, to offer them governance-sharing opportunities. While on the one hand, insisting that Afghanistan is in dire need of the protective presence of NATO to defend the country and its people from the Taliban, he designs a future allied with them.
An aspiration that fits very nicely into Pakistan's plans too, as it happens. The Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, always engaged closely with the Taliban and indeed intertwined with them - despite its urgent denials of same when faced with accusations by the west - has been helpful in arranging meetings with leaders of the insurgency networks.
All of which sinister plots are utterly false, since both the Afghan and the Pakistan governments deny there is any credibility in those (well verified) claims.