Thursday, October 04, 2012
Afghan president says 2014 election will be on time
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday that presidential elections in 2014 when his term will end would be on time, despite a continuing insurgency and concerns about a simultaneous NATO combat troop exit.
"The election will definitely happen. Go on and choose your own favourite candidate. My term, if prolonged by even a day, will be seen as illegitimate," Karzai told a press conference at his Kabul garden palace.
Karzai's increasingly unpopular government has been mulling a change in election timing to avoid overlapping with the drawdown of U.S.-led NATO forces due to be completed by the end of 2014, when security is handed to Afghan forces.
But myriad opposition parties have been coalescing against his government, demanding that the 2014 presidential elections be held on time and according to the constitution amid speculation Karzai could seek to manipulate the outcome.
Karzai also took aim at foreign media outlets, which he accused of painting a "doomsday scenario" of Afghanistan after the NATO pullout, despite promises of international aid and security assistance from Western military backers.
But he predicted the U.S.-led war on militancy would "not be successful from Afganistan's view" because it was being fought in Afghan villages, rather than against insurgents based in neighbouring countries, an allusion to Pakistan.
(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni, Writing by Rob Taylor; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)