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Afghanistan's Karzai Faces Pressure To Confront Corruption Menace

Following President Hamid Karzai's reelection on November 2, Kabul's Arg Palace has been abuzz with activity.

Afghan politicians, tribal leaders, and supporters have been streaming to the presidential residence -- which served as the 19th- and 20th-century seat of Afghan kings -- to congratulate Karzai on his victory. As they present the president with turbans, colorful cloaks, and carpets, they also make demands and subtly remind him of his campaign promises.

Among Karzai's Western allies, however, the mood is very different. In telephone conversations, public statements, and even messages of congratulations to Karzai himself they have been calling for the Afghan president to announce a rigorous reform agenda for his second term.

In a speech in London on November 6, British Prime Minister laid it out in no uncertain terms: "Sadly, the government of Afghanistan had become a byword for corruption. And I'm not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harm's way for a government that does not stand up against corruption.

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Afghanistan's Karzai Faces Pressure To Confront Corruption Menace

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