The 8 worst countries on Transparency International's list

Nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the annual Corruption Perceptions Index has a ranking below five, meaning that not just the following five countries have a corruption problem.

4. Afghanistan and Myanmar

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    US soldier SPC Hoan Nguyen, from 2nd PLT Diablos 552nd MIlitary Police Company, walks during a patrol on the outskirts of Kandahar City, Afghanistan, on Oct. 26.
    Rodrigo Abd/AP
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Burma (Myanmar) tied with Afghanistan as the world's second-most corrupt nation. It's no coincidence that the world's fourth- and third-most corrupt nations are both currently occupied by US forces. "Unstable governments, often with a legacy of conflict, continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the CPI," Transparency International said in a press release.

The Monitor reported in April that Taliban insurgents are less worrisome than the country's murky nexus of warlords and corrupt government officials.

"Indeed," reported Julius Cavendish, "the fear and corruption they perpetuate undermine efforts to build a stable government and help the Taliban win support among locals, say Afghan and NATO officials, private citizens, analysts, and local journalists. The trend echoes a pattern from the 1990s, when violence among competing warlords gave rise to the Taliban and their brutal ways of imposing law and order."

The Monitor's Ben Arnoldy details in this report how corruption affects Afghans on a daily basis. Likewise in Burma, according to the US State Department, "most citizens view corruption as a normal practice and requirement for survival."

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