Afghans Infuriated by Gaping Wealth Divide

Corruption fuels scattered elite class
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2009 9:35 AM CST
An Afghan street vendor, right, weight stale bread for his customers in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, June 10, 2008.    (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world—but while many are forced to beg for change, scattered neighbors are living in mansions, having mysteriously accumulated vast wealth, the Washington Post reports. Stories of drug trafficking, smuggling, and abuse of international aid abound. “All the jobs and money go to those who have relatives in power, and corruption is everywhere,” said a farmer.

While poverty is nothing new in the country, the massive wealth gap threatens public opinion of Hamid Karzai’s government. Though few want the Taliban back in charge, the group’s time in power is now remembered as “brutal but honest,” the Post notes. “Nobody loved the Taliban, but what we see now is outrageous. The leaders are not rebuilding Afghanistan, they are only lining their pockets,” said a teacher.