Promises, Promises

Karzai Vows to Clean up Gov't

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was given another five-year term after his only rival withdrew from a runoff, said in his first speech since the decision that he would "launch a campaign to clean the government of corruption.” President Obama and America's European allies have pressed Karzai to help put a stop to rampant corruption, some of it connected to illegal drug trafficking, that has helped the Taliban gain a foothold in the country, but Karzai gave no clear indication what he would do to end corruption besides "see what problems are in the law and... draft some new laws," as well as strengthen an anti-corruption commission. American and European officials have indicated that they'd like to see stricter standards of accountability, plus arrests of "blatantly corrupt" Afghan officials—possibly including Karzai's brother Ahmed Wali Karzai—though they acknowledge that the odds of such arrests is slim. In his speech, Karzai did not say he would give his former rival, Abdullah Abdullah, a place in the government. The Obama administration, currently deliberating on long-term strategy in Afghanistan, has said that the re-appointment of Karzai has no effect on the timetable for their troop strategy.