Newly re-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai has vowed that his government will be a “mirror of Afghanistan” that will reflect upon the entire Afghan community.
Mr. Karzai said in his victory speech Tuesday that the true winner of the presidential election was not just one person, but all the people of Afghanistan who participated in the election process.
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission declared him the winner Monday, a day after his opponent, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the runoff that was scheduled for November 7. Abdullah said he pulled out of the race because of concerns over widespread fraud in the first round of voting in August.
Mr. Karzai pledged Tuesday to remove what he called the “stain of corruption” from the Afghan government.
Obama Congratulates Karzai
U.S. President Barack Obama has congratulated Mr. Karzai on his election victory and urged him to open a new chapter in Afghanistan’s history.
In a phone call Monday, President Obama also said it is time for “improved governance,” a “much more serious” effort to eradicate corruption, and accelerated training of security forces so that the Afghan people can provide for their own security.
President Obama said he will be consulting closely with the Karzai government to ensure the Afghan people “are actually seeing progress on the ground.”
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr. Karzai’s re-election will help Washington formulate its war strategy.
Afghan Election Commission Cancels Runoff
The election commission canceled the runoff and said President Karzai would keep his post because he had won the first round in August and was the only candidate left for the second round.
Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met both Mr. Karzai and Abdullah in Kabul. He said Mr. Karzai must quickly form a government that has the support of the Afghan people and the international community.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.