Karzai should seize the moment, end government corruption: Clinton

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Kabul, Nov.19 (ANI): Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to seize the moment of his second term as head of state to end government corruption.

"President Karzai should seize this moment, and so should we. That is why President Obama is engaged in a careful and thorough review of our Afghanistan policy, evaluating the progress we've made, the challenges we still face and the best way forward to achieve our goals," the Washington Times quoted Clinton, as saying.

"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," she added while ona visit to the U.S. Embassy here.

Transparency International, an organization that rates countries according to business practices, this week labeled Afghanistan the second most corrupt nation in the world after Somalia, a failed state.

Karzai has announced the creation of an anti-corruption unit and is expected to address the issue in his inaugural address today.

President Obama has said that he wants to end the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan by the time he leaves the White House, presumably after two terms. He did not say whether he planned to withdraw all U.S. forces by then.

"My preference would be not to hand off anything to the next president. One of the things I'd like is the next president to be able to come in and say, 'I've got a clean slate'," he said shortly before leaving Beijing for Seoul.

Clinton has met with General Stanley A. McChrystal, the commanding U.S. general here, and Karl Eikenberry, a former commander and current U.S. ambassador to Kabul.

Gen. McChrystal reportedly is pushing for as many as 40,000 additional troops to be deployed, on top of 68,000 Americans already in Afghanistan, while Eikenberry has argued that more forces would only prop up a corrupt and weak government.

Clinton is expected to meet with officials from other NATO countries providing about 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. (ANI)

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