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Afghanistan - presidential inauguration

Challenges await as Karzai is sworn in for second term

Article published on the 2009-11-19 Latest update 2009-11-24 09:14 TU

President Hamid Karzai during his swearing-in ceremony

President Hamid Karzai during his swearing-in ceremony

Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed to combat corruption and invited his chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, to help with national unity after he was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, facing Western pressure to restore legitimacy as a US-led war stretches into a ninth year.

Report: Kabulis react to Karzai's swearing-in

24/11/2009 by Tony Cross

Karzai took the oath of office with a Taliban insurgency killing record numbers of Western troops and Afghans and limiting government control in growing parts of the country after his fraud-tainted re-election.

"Corruption is a dangerous problem," he said in an address delivered before an audience of visiting foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at his heavily fortified presidential palace.

"We will soon organise a conference in Kabul to organise new and effective ways to combat this problem," he said.

The United States has directly linked future levels of military and crucial financial aid to progress in eradicating official corruption.

Karzai, 51, also pledged action to fight drugs and create jobs, and he invited his rivals, including his main opponent, to work with him on national unity.

"I would like to invite all presidential candidates, including my brother Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to come together and achieve the important task of national unity," he said.

Abdullah has called the election illegitimate.

Karzai was declared re-elected on 2 November after a UN-backed commission found nearly a third of votes cast for him on 20 August were fraudulent and Abdullah abandoned a run-off.

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