Karzai offers olive branch to Taliban ‘brothers’

15Jan

“We call on our Taliban brothers to come home and embrace their land,” Karzai said at a press conference a day after organisers declared him the winner of the country’s second presidential election.

上海性息

The Taliban, many of whose fighters are based along the porous Afghan-Pakistan border, were driven out of Kabul in late 2001 by US-led coalition forces, paving the way for Karzai to take power.

Karzai also said it would have been better for Afghanistan to have had a run-off election and bemoaned his only challenger’s withdrawal, after organisers declared him the winner.

“We were hoping, and it would have been better for our country, for the democratic process and for us, if our brother Dr Abdullah had participated in the second round and the second round had taken place,” Karzai said.

Run-off election cancelled

“That was what we wanted,” he told a press conference.

Karzai was declared winner of the election by the country’s electoral commission on Monday in the light of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah’s withdrawal from a run-off scheduled for November 7.

Following his reappointment to the presidency, Karzai vowed to “eradicate the stain” of corruption in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan has been defamed by corruption. Our government has been defamed by corruption,” Karzai said.

“We will strive, by any means possible, to eradicate this stain.”

He spoke just hours after US President Barack Obama said he had told Karzai to step up efforts “to eradicate corruption” and called for a “new chapter” in cooperation between their countries.

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