Ethical Decision Making Analysis


Unethical deeds can be defined from various perspectives. They can be defined as intentional individual or group actions that violate societal values, morals and standards of conduct (Nelson & Quick, 2007). This article will explore the decision making process based on the unethical behaviour of corruption.

Description of an event

An article published in The New York Times on 25th June 2010, titled ‘Convoy guards in Afghanistan face an inquiry’ covers allegations of corruption by some top officials within the Afghanistan government, who apparently are misusing funds from the American tax payers to bribe the Taliban. These officials, using their security companies even stage fake battles as a way of portraying Afghan roads as unsafe such that anyone passing through them will have to seek their protection from insurgents.

The implications of this unethical behavior are far and wide and go against the very reason why the US army is in Afghanistan. Not only are these officials being immoral by engaging in corruption using American funds, but by funding the Taliban, they are making the Taliban stronger and yet the US forces are there to dismantle and make them (the Taliban) powerless. This immoral behavior has made these officials so greedy that they are alleged to fight off competitors so that they can be allocated all the protection contracts. The issue of corruption in Afghanistan can be analyzed from the three models; non-maleficence, beneficence and distributive Justice (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001).


Non-maleficience is one of the principles of biomedical ethics. Non-maleficience is characterized by deeds that are against harmful, evil activities, or any other activities that are generally regarded as bad deeds. In nursing, this can mean avoiding intentionally engaging in acts that are likely to harm patients. However, when it comes to corruption issues in Afghanistan, it can mean one not engaging in unethical acts that fuel the bribery and misuse of American funds. As mentioned before, these companies engaging bribery also engage in other acts to intimidate their competitors.


The principle behind beneficence entails performing good deeds and going against anything seen as having the potential to cause harm to others. The article in The New York Times covers an enquiry that aims to find ways of stopping this evil. The inquiry seeks to trail the millions of dollars sourced from American taxpayers that are paid to private Afghan security companies in exchange for protection of supply convoys, and hopefully come up with ways to stop the bribery and other corruption deeds that are fuelled using these funds.

Distributive Justice

Distributive justice entails the fair allocation of available resources between the members of a certain group or community. Fair allocation considers the whole amount of available resources. The options are available to enable a reasonable distribution process (Maiese, 2003). It can be observed from The New York Times article that the amount of cash paid for provision of protection is relatively high, going up to 2500 USD per truck.

The high amount of cash involved can be challenged from the distribution of justice perspective as being among the contributing factors to the corruption. The contracted companies seemingly earn too much, and this could be the reason why they have no problem paying off the Taliban. The non-maleficence, beneficence and distributive justice principles in Afghanistan have been utilized in this article to discuss corruption in Afghanistan. This corruption fuels the Taliban, who in turn stage attacks in Afghanistan, resulting in casualties who need the care of medical professionals. Corruption in Afghanistan can therefore be said to be affecting the medical personnel to a certain extent.

Suggested Solutions

The corruption and bribery problem in Afghanistan can be traced to the ownership of the private security firms. Most of these security firms are owned by powerful individuals within the Afghan government. These companies are not required to account for the funds allocated to them and this, among other reasons, could be the reason as to why they are suspected to be cooperating with the insurgents instead of eliminating them. The article mentions that there have been some voices claiming that the government and the insurgents are one and the same.

There is need of an alternative way of containing the Taliban and keeping the American tax cash from reaching Taliban pockets. The private security firms need to be made accountable for the funds allocated to them. Moreover, protection contracts should be awarded to firms that have no connection with government officials, especially those who have been linked to unethical practices. Another solution would be to stop paying groups not registered by the Afghan government for the provision of security since are likely to be Taliban fighters posing as escorts service providers.

Of the above mentioned alternatives, denying protection contracts to companies thought to be connected to the Taliban is be the most effective way of handling the problem. Some of the companies that are awarded protection contracts sometimes subcontract the service provision to companies which even further subcontract other organizations. In such an arrangement, it is easy for the Taliban to be part of those subcontracted organizations. It should therefore be demanded from the companies awarded these contracts not to subcontract services and those that can not comply should not be issued with the contacts.

These alternative moves to help cut down corruption are likely to meet some resistance and even retaliation from the companies denied contracts. Case in point being the 14th May, 2010 incidence as reported by the same New York Times article. The article reports an incidence in which a supply convoy came under heavy attack soon after two of the main security companies in Afghanistan were banned from participating in contracts to offer protection to supply convoys. This attack, which was suspected to have been initiated by the banned firms, resulted in massive disruptions of transport activities. Soon after, the two firms were allowed to continue providing protection services by the Afghan government.

The implementation of these alternative solutions will have to be planned if they are to succeed. The first step would be to investigate and stop all contracts with companies that are suspected of engaging in unethical practises and demanding full accountability from the remaining companies. Should the banned companies retaliate, the government should stand its ground and seek for more protection from trustable companies. Eventually, all the companies will have to comply with all these requirements if they need a share of the defence contact cash, and this will also discourage bribery and corruption.


The unethical practice of corruption can be very cumbersome to get rid of and requires a lot of determination in efforts against the practice. This article has explored a corruption case that was featured in a popular daily and suggested a few steps that can be adopted to curb the practice. Difficult as they may be to apply, if these steps are followed in making decisions about the reduction of corruption in Afghanistan, the vice will be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated.


Beauchamp, T.L & Childress, J.F (2001). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Maiese, M. (2003). Distributed Justice: the Notion of Fair Distribution. Web.

Nelson, D.L. & Quick, J.C. (2007). Understanding Organizational Behaviour. California: Cengage Learning EMEA.

The New York Times (2010). Rule of the Gun: Convoy Guards in Afghanistan Face an Inquiry. Web.