Afghan President Hamid Karzai has secured a second term in office after
the election commission canceled a runoff vote in the country's
The commission chief (Azizullah Ludin) said Monday
President Karzai would keep his post because he won the first August
election, and was the only candidate in the runoff that was scheduled
for November 7.
Mr. Karzai's challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the race
because of concerns about widespread fraud, which marred the August
The United Nations, the United States, Britain and other allies welcomed the development and congratulated President Karzai.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he urged Mr. Karzai by phone Monday to
eradicate corruption and improve Afghanistan's governance.
Mr. Obama says he will be consulting closely with the Karzai government
to ensure the Afghan people are actually seeing progress on the ground.
He said the Afghan leader told him he understands, to which Mr. Obama
said he responded, the proof is "not in words," but in "deeds."
Mr. Obama's spokesman (Robert Gibbs) said the administration would be deciding within weeks whether to send more troops to the war in Afghanistan.
He said knowing who will be Afghanistan's president will help the Obama administration formulate its war strategy.
Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met both Mr. Karzai
and Mr. Abdullah on a visit to Kabul Monday. He said Mr. Karzai must
quickly form a government that has the support of the Afghan people and
the international community.
In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also urged the Afghan leader to quickly set out a unity program for the country.
Mr. Brown said he congratulated Mr. Karzai by phone and urged him to
take measures to tackle corruption and strengthen local governments.