Brown tells Karzai to tackle corruption

Author: By Laura May, Press Association

During a meeting at No 10 with UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, Mr Brown
said: “These are important days for Afghanistan when the president is

“We will want him to make clear that he is going to take immediate action on

Mr Karzai’s victory was declared yesterday after Afghanistan’s Independent
Electoral Commission decided to call off this weekend’s second-round
presidential ballot, which was triggered by his failure to obtain 50% of
votes in an election in August which was marred by widespread fraud.

The ballot had effectively become meaningless following the withdrawal from
the race on Sunday of Mr Karzai’s only remaining rival, former foreign
minister Abdullah Abdullah, who claimed the run-off poll would not be fair.

Mr Brown said Britain wanted to see “a corruption-free government, an
inclusive government and a government which will tackle the problem of
bringing prosperity to the Afghan people”.

He said that if Mr Karzai was successful in tackling these issues and building
up the Afghan military and police force, “that will allow British and other
troops to come home”.

He acknowledged that Mr Karzai faced an “extremely challenging” task and said
he looked forward to “further indications” from the President about how he
would tackle corruption.

He also offered his condolences to the UN following the death of its staff in
a recent bombing attack in Kabul.

He said: “We know that UN staff work in difficult and dangerous situations.
Their efforts and their work will never be forgotten.”

Asked if international aid would be conditional on seeing corruption
eradicated, he said: “We’ll only give aid to projects we are sure are going
to be delivered.”

Setting out the actions he expected the President to take, he said steps
should be taken over corrupt officials and district officials must be “free
of any stain of corruption”.

He said: “What we want and what he (Mr Karzai) now wants is action on
corruption, building up the Afghan army and police force and showing that he
can bring prosperity to the Afghan people by controlling the drugs trade.”

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