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October 04, 2012

Afghan President: No Delay in 2014 Vote

by VOA News

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that the country's 2014 presidential elections will take place on time despite the scheduled exit of international troops from the country.

During a news conference Thursday in the capital, Kabul,. Karzai said the vote will "100 percent happen on time," adding that any prolonging of his tenure would be 'illegitimate'."

Afghan lawmakers have considered changing the election timing to avoid an overlap with the scheduled drawdown of U.S.-led NATO combat forces, which is to set to take place at the end of 2014.

Karzai, in his comments, also criticized foreign media outlets which he said painted a gloomy scenario of Afghanistan after the pull out.  He accused the media of conducting "psychological" warfare against Afghanistan's reputation by alleging that civil war will break out in the country after foreign forces leave.

The Afghan president also said his government would be open to signing a strategic pact with Pakistan, only if Islamabad first stops "terrorists" and "suicide bombers" from crossing into the border into Afghanistan.

Tensions have been high between the two countries with Afghanistan blaming Pakistan for recent cross-border shelling that Afghan officials say has killed a number of civilians.  Pakistan denies deliberately shelling across the border and says it is going after militants who escape into Afghanistan.