Re-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pledged to root out corruption and form an inclusive government.
Declared the winner of a poll marred by fraud, Karzai urged ‘peace and unity’ and repeated earlier calls for talks with ‘moderate’ elements of the Taliban. President Karzai said: “My governement will be for all Afghans and all those who want to work with me are most welcome, regardless of wether they opposed me during the election or wether they supported me during the election.” The Islamists rejected the olive branch, ridiculing Karzai as a ‘puppet’ president of the West. War-weary Afghan people, who have endured years of violence and hardship, seem to have little hope a new administration will turn their lives around. In one expert’s view, time is of the essence. Haroun Mir from the Afghanistan Policy and Research Centre said: “If President Karzai forms a government that could change the situation and improve the situation within six months or a year then I think this issue of legitimacy will not be a big issue for President Karzai because then people will accept him.” A run-off vote was cancelled after the withdrawal of challenger Abdullah Abdullah who said it was likely to be just as flawed as the first round in August.