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Hamid Karzai declared Afghan president

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 02 November 2009

Hamid Karzai is declared Afghan president for a second term following the withdrawal of Abdullah Abdullah, his only rival. Nick Paton Walsh reports.

President Karzai (Getty)

"There is no second round," the independent election commission's chief electoral officer, Daoud Ali Najafi, told Reuters.

The run-off, called after the first round in August was marred by widespread fraud, was to have been held on 7 Nov.

Channel 4 News diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Rugman said there would be "quiet relief" in London and Washington that "British and American troops are not going to be defending polling stations on Saturday, where they will be risking their lives to help Afghans to vote in a second round which probably could have been fraudulent, as the first one was."

He continued: "That quiet relief... is tempered by a concern as to the legitimacy of Hamid Karzai. He got less than 50 per cent in the first round. 900,000 votes were declared fraudulent - and that was only a sample, it was probably more than that."

"The big question now is whether Barack Obama is going to commit these 40,000 troops that are being talked about, new troops, given that we have this situation where the president has not gone to a second round.

"There will be immense pressure on Hamid Karzai to show that he's a different kind of Afghan president to the Hamid Karzai of the past - that he has to tackle corruption, that he has to include opposition figures in his cabinet, that hopefully there is some deal to be achieved with Abdullah Abdullah."

"Those troops that are likely going to be deployed in the next few months' time or a few weeks' time will be dependent, certainly publicly, on Hamid Karzai showing that he can be more legitimate than he has proven so far."

Earlier United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the disputed presidential election were among the most difficult the United Nations had ever supported.

"We continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan in their quest for prosperity and peace," Ban told reporters during a surprise visit to Kabul.

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