Afghan transition corruption danger
Kabul - The United States' top military officer warned on Sunday that some Afghan institutions central to the transition of power from foreign to local forces are corrupt.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was speaking after a two-day trip to Afghanistan, much of which was spent visiting troops, shortly before he is due to step down in October.
During a press conference in Kabul, he highlighted a lack of good governance in many parts of Afghanistan.
He also spoke specifically about Afghan institutions involved in the transition of power from international to Afghan troops and officials, which will eventually see all foreign combat forces leave by the end of 2014.
Some countries including the US have already started troop withdrawals as part of the transition process.
"I think it's fair to say that in the main, Afghan government officials must work on becoming more responsive to the needs and the aspirations of their people," Mullen said.
"We know that some agencies and institutions vital to transition are infiltrated and subverted by criminal patronage networks."
He added: "We must end impunity for criminals who are subverting the state and victimising the Afghan people."
As well as the security handover to the Afghan police and army, the transition process also includes a wide range of local and national government bodies taking on new responsibilities from foreign officials.
Mullen acknowledged that US "inattention" had contributed to the problem.
The US government has spent $51.8 billion on aid to Afghanistan since 2002, much of which goes through contractors.
Experts say corruption is an endemic problem among many officials in Afghanistan and that the government and foreign powers must do more to combat it.