Karzai says Afghan forces will take over security within five years

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Kabul, Nov. 20 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set a five-year time frame for Afghan forces to take over from international troops.

"We are determined that by the next five years, the Afghan forces are capable of taking the lead in ensuring security and stability across the country," The Telegraph quoted Karzai, as saying.

Karzai's statement came a day after US President Barack Obama said he was preparing to unveil an "end game" for the involvement of US troops.

In his inauguration speech aimed at pacifying impatient Western allies, Karzai also promised to fight corruption, hold a grand tribal assembly aimed at bringing peace and target the opium trade as he was sworn in for a second five-year presidential term.

The 51-year-old leader, whose controversial re-election was mired in fraud and whose government has been accused of being rife with corruption, vowed that his new cabinet would be "competent and professional".

Karzai also said he would propose a Loya Jirga, or grand council of elders, in his second five-year term to try and end the Taliban-led insurgency.

"We welcome those who are not affiliated with any terrorist organisations and whose hands are not red with Afghans' blood," he said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he wanted "actions not words", while Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, called it an "important new starting point". (ANI)

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