Hillary Clinton has welcomed the pledge by Afghanistan’s newly sworn-in president to battle corruption both within and without political circles.
As the US Secretary of State met with other diplomatic chiefs after the presidential inauguration in Kabul, she said the issue during Hamid Karzai’s second term was to ensure promises were implemented. “He was particularly strong on the steps that he intends to take regarding corruption,” said Hillary Clinton. “We are heartened by what we see as the agenda for change and reform that was outlined by President Karzai.” In what is being seen as a nod to the demands of his Western backers, Karzai vowed to appoint competent and professional ministers. He also said he will get his security forces sufficiently trained to take the lead within five years. Doubts over his legitimacy after August’s tainted election has produced a deep slump in public support in the US and other allied countries. As Washington deliberates over sending more troops despite the mounting death toll of US soldiers; stressing an exit strategy rather than the increased deployment could help the US president to sell his plans at home.