As Helmand risks falling to the Taliban, Afghans blame graft

For the past month, the Taliban have held control over most of Afghanistan's Helmand province, where the majority of the world's opium is grown — and as insurgent attacks intensify around the provincial capital, residents are blaming rampant government corruption for the rising militant threat.

At an international aid conference last week, Afghanistan's leaders raised $15 billion from their international backers and pledged to clamp down on graft. But corrupt officials have hollowed out the national security forces, selling weapons and even government buildings to the Taliban, and alienated local populations. One Afghan official said that Helmand residents were so angry at...