Congressional Briefing - May 21, 2010

Tackling Corruption in Afghanistan: A Report from Kabul

Tackling Corruption in Afghanistan: A Report from Kabul


Cheryl Benard, Director, RAND Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth (2003–2009)
Elvira Loredo, Operations Researcher, RAND Corporation


Friday, May 21, 2010


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


2255 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

International monitoring organizations rank Afghanistan as the second most corrupt country in the world. Every day, bribery permeates small and large transactions alike—everything from obtaining a student's report card and resolving legal disputes to negotiating and issuing major government contracts. At a workshop in Kabul, RAND convened 40 representatives from all sectors of Afghan society to better understand Afghan attitudes and experiences with corruption and their efforts to thwart it. This briefing will describe the perspectives of Afghan attendees and different solutions and anti-corruption approaches that have worked in comparable settings. Because corruption is recognized as a significant obstacle to the stabilization and development of Afghanistan—and a contentious issue between the United States and the Karzai government—discovering ways to mitigate this problem is an essential precondition for success in Afghanistan.

About the Speakers

Cheryl Benard was a senior political scientist and director of the Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests have included refugee and immigrant integration; gender in development; issues in the delivery of humanitarian crisis relief; education reform; radicalization and youth; and post-conflict nation-building. Her study of the Iranian revolution, cowritten with Zalmay Khalilzad, was entitled The Government of God: Iran's Islamic Republic (Columbia University Press, 1984). Veiled Courage (Random House, 2002) describes civil resistance against the Taliban. Her RAND publications include Women and Nation-Building (Cheryl Benard et al., 2008) and Civil Democratic Islam (2003), which suggests a way to better understand Islamic political groups and movements by aligning them along a differentiated ideological spectrum. Benard also previously served as research director at the Boltzmann Institute of Politics in Austria. She holds a B.A. in political science from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Vienna, Austria.

Elvira Loredo is an operations researcher at the RAND Corporation. She was a member of the Deployed in Iraq/Afghanistan Group, which conducted fieldwork on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in combat zones. The group helped identify and transfer new data sources; provide daily, on-site analytical support to counter-IED planners at various levels of command; revamp the IED information management system in Afghanistan; and draft special reports for field commanders on critical subjects, such as the performance of counter-IED Task Force Paladin in Afghanistan and the suicide bomber threat. Prior to that, Loredo was on the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for KC-135 Recapitalization study team, which produced a detailed AoA for the U.S. Air Force's aging tanker fleet. Loredo received her B.S. in systems analysis and M.S. in management science from the University of Miami, and her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Arizona State University.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND operates independent of political and commercial pressures. We serve the public interest by helping lawmakers reach informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.