Fri, November 20, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Afghan election-related turmoil

Karzai sworn in as Afghan President for 2nd term

2009-11-19 06:59:21 GMT2009-11-19 14:59:21 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacts during his inauguration as President in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2009. The sitting Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in as the president of the post-Taliban country for the second term on Thursday amid tight security. (Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacts during his inauguration as President in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna)

People take part in the oath taking ceremony of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reviews honor guards before taking oath in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Zabi Tamanna)

KABUL, Nov. 19 (Xinhua)-- The incumbent Afghan president Hamid Karzai was sworn in for the second five-year term on Thursday amid tight security. He vowed to fight corruption and bring good governance.

"The government of Afghanistan is committed to ending the culture of impunity and to bring to justice those involved in spreading corruption and abuse public property," Karzai said in his speech after taking the oath.

Afghanistan's Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi administered the swearing-in ceremony at the fortified Presidential Palace attended by hundreds of Afghan and foreign guests including Pakistani President Asif Ali Zaradari, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and foreign ministers from Russia, Turkey, France, Turkmenistan and some other nations.

The 52-year-old Karzai, announced as the winner of fraud-marred election on November 2, just a day after his nearest rival Abdullah Abdullah quitted the runoff, also called on his political rivals to assist him in building a united and strong Afghanistan.

Karzai also asked all government functionaries including ministers, deputy ministers and provincial governors to register their movable and immovable properties before assuming office.

The alleged rampant corruption in government bodies and administration's failure to curb increasing militancy and poppy cultivation has tarnished Afghanistan's image and prompted donor nations particularly U.S. and Britain to openly criticize Karzai's administration.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to media reports on Wednesday said before attending the ceremony, "There is now a clear window of opportunity for President Karzai to make a new compact with the people of Afghanistan -- based on accountability and tangible results -- and to forge a stronger partnership with the international community."

Vowing to fight corruption, Karzai in his speech stressed, "To prevent corruption, we will adopt a law in consultation with the National Assembly and making it obligatory for government officials to declare their properties in a transparent manner."

It is said that only 20 percent of some 32 billion U.S. dollars contributed to Afghanistan since 2002 by the international community, has been spent through Afghanistan government.

President Karzai in his speech called on donor nations to raise this percentage to 50 percent over the next two years.

He also described Afghanistan's relation with Washington as very important and said, "Afghanistan hopes to acquire the status of a major non-NATO ally of the United States."

On relation with China, the Afghan president said, "The People's Republic of China is our good neighbor and partner in the development process in Afghanistan."

He also thanked India for contributing 1.3 billion U.S. dollars and said, "We enjoy strategic relations with the Republic of India and thousands of Afghan students are educated in Indian universities."

The Afghan president also expressed his gratitude to all the neighboring states of Afghanistan for their contribution in the rebuilding process of the war-torn country.

He also stressed to continue the national reconciliation policy for having durable peace in the country and called on armed opposition to lay down arms and resume their normal life.

"Military alone cannot solve the problem. I am calling on all oppositions who have no link to the terrorist network return home and resume their normal live," Karzai said and added his administration would convene the traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly to ensure permanent peace in the war-ravaged nation.

Earlier, the president was sworn in front of hundreds of the audience by saying, "I swear to obey and safeguard the provision of the sacred of Islam, the constitution, the laws of the land and to implement it."

The ceremony was held amid tight security as personnel of law enforcing agencies including police and army have been deployed insensitive areas, streets and on the hilltops of the capital city to ensure security.

Despite Taliban militants possible threat who carried out several rocket and bomb attack on August 20 presidential election to derail the voting process, the oath taking ceremony was ended peacefully and no security incidents have been reported.

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