Agreed to Runoff for Peace and Stability: Karzai

Agreed to Runoff for Peace and Stability: Karzai
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said that he agreed to the November 7 run-off elections for the sake of peace and stability of the country, though he feels that the Presidential election result was 'clear'.

“For the reason of safety and security of the Afghan people, and cementing democratic traditions in Afghanistan, I went to agree to a second round, which I believe is good for Afghanistan, which will eventually be good for all of us,” Karzai told Fareed Zakaria of the CNN in an interview.

This was Karzai’s first interview after he agreed to the run-off last week.

“There were some incidents of fraud. But the election as a whole was clean, and the result was clear. I decided for peace, for stability and for the future of democracy in Afghanistan and for the future of institutional order in Afghanistan - to call for a runoff,” he said.

Noting that Afghanistan is a poor country and has gone through years of war, wherein the institutions are just young toddlers in this democracy that resembles a toddler, Karzai said: “We have to accept the Afghan result, elections, in the context of the Afghan situation, and the poverty and lack of means in this country.”

When asked about the doubts being raised in certain quarters on the runoff, he said: “It has to be held. I made sure to have agreement from all the international players before agreeing to a runoff, to have a second round -- absolutely, surely agreed upon and promised. Therefore, we must have a second round.

“If we don’t do that, we’ll be insulting democracy and a pledge to respecting the vote of the people,” he said.

Karzai supported the report of General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, which seeks some 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

“I support General McChrystal’s report specifically when that report talks of providing protection to the population, providing them better reconstruction activity, and that the war on terror must not be pursuing and killing the Taliban, but it must rather concentrate on providing protection to the people,” he said.

“Now, with regard to the addition of troops, this is a matter that we have to discuss, as the election gets over, with the US government, the arrival of troops.

“If it contributes to better security for the Afghan people, if it contributes to better protection for our civilian population, and if it enhances the ability of the Afghan forces to eventually stand on their own feet and defend their country, that’s something that we can work about and agree about,” Karzai said.
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