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Karzai backs down and opens Afghan parliament

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Karzai backs down and opens Afghan parliament


He wanted a further postponement, but President Hamid Karzai has given into pressure and inaugurated Afghanistan’s parliament, ending weeks of political infighting.

Karzai wanted the opening of the assembly delayed so that disputed elections in September could be investigated. But winning candidates were determined to take their seats in parliament.

“The longer the opening of the parliament would have been delayed, the more confusing would have been the political situation within the country,” said main opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah. “So I think it was good that it was opened today.”

The international community also wanted parliament convened.

“Thank God, today was the day of history,” said UN Representative for Afghanistan, Steffan De Mistura, describing it as “one page of the 10 years of the beginning of this young democracy, which is never perfect.”

While backing down, President Karzai took a dig at the West in his opening remarks, saying “foreign interference” had been a serious problem.

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