Under fire Karzai refuses to sack corrupt Afghan minister, officials

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London, Nov 4 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who started his new term with a pledge to check corruption and reach out to opponents, has ruled out sacking corrupt minister and officials, and has neither outlined how he would tackle the systemic malpractice and criminality in the country which has attracted international criticism.

The US and other Western countries are demanding root and branch reforms and a major drive against corruption in return for additional troops and vast amounts of money to Afghanistan, The Independent reports.

Karzai during his victory speech was flanked by his two running mates, Marshal Muhammed Qasim, accused of drug trafficking by US officials, and Karim Khalili, who was accused in a recent human rights report of war crimes.

Asked whether he was prepared to sack ministers and officials who have abused the law, Karzai responded: "These problems cannot be solved by changing high-ranking officials."

However, he acknowledged that Afghanistan had got a bad name for corruption, and pledged: "We will do our best through all possible means to eliminate that dark stain from our clothes."

Karzai became President again on Monday after the election commission cancelled a second round of voting due next weekend. The run-off with rival Abdullah Abdullah, was ordered after Karzai was stripped of a million of his votes from the first round for massive ballot stuffing.

Dr Abdullah, who dropped out of the run-off at the weekend, was last night said to be considering whether to challenge Karzai's reappointment in the Supreme Court, the paper reports. (ANI)

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