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Afghanistan's Abdullah Says Karzai Re-election Lacks Legitimacy


Afghanistan's Abdullah Says Karzai Re-election Lacks Legitimacy

Afghanistan's Abdullah Says Karzai Re-election Lacks Legitimacy

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai's election rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, told reporters Wednesday that he believes the country's current government lacks legitimacy and will not be able to combat corruption.

Abdullah Abdullah says the country's election commission did not have the legal authority or the credibility to declare Mr. Karzai the default winner of Afghanistan's presidential race.

"I think that any government which is formed on that basis and then claim that [it] will bring the rule of law in this country and promote the ideals of the people of Afghanistan, a government which is derived on such an illegal decision will not be able to deliver," he said.

The Independent Election Commission declared Mr. Karzai winner a day after Abdullah withdrew his name from the runoff election scheduled for Saturday. The former foreign minister said he had no confidence the vote would be any more fair than the flawed general election.

Election monitors spent two months throwing out fraudulent ballots before declaring Mr. Karzai had failed to secure enough votes to win the August 20th poll. Most of the fraud benefited Mr. Karzai, and Abdullah objected that the Afghan president - who appointed the election commission leadership - refused to change it for the second round.

Daud Sultanzoi, a member of Afghanistan's Parliament, tells VOA it is not surprising that Mr. Karzai is not making public gestures to include his opponent.

"He cannot hinge everything on Mr. Abdullah's support," said Sultanzoi. "In order to govern, he cannot become a hostage to an opposition that didn't even exist before the election but became an opposition due to his mistakes."

On Tuesday, Western leaders urged Mr. Karzai to focus on improving governance and security and fighting corruption. In a press conference, the Afghan president vowed to eliminate government corruption, but he did not offer any specifics.

Meanwhile, Afghan and foreign troops are struggling to counter a growing Taliban insurgency. In the latest violence, an Afghan police officer shot dead five British soldiers Wednesday in southern Afghanistan.

Abdullah expressed his condolences for the dead soldiers and their families. He also said the government is not doing enough to fight the violence.

"Eight years down the road, we still need more troops, [especially] in the absence of a credible and reliable and legitimate partner," he said.

Abdullah said the government needs to create a realistic timetable for taking over the country's security.

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, despite the war's flagging popularity among the American people.

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