Afghan President Hamid Karzai will be sworn in for a second term
Thursday, even as the West has increased pressure on him to fight
corruption and improve government accountability.
The capital, Kabul, is under tight security for the inauguration that
will be held on the heavily-guarded grounds of the presidential palace
in the presence of foreign dignitaries and Afghan leaders.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Kabul Wednesday,
saying the start of Mr. Karzai's new five-year term represents a
"window of opportunity" for Afghan leaders to make a "new compact" with
Also Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he will announce his
highly anticipated decision on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan over the
next several weeks. He said the strategy will put the United States and
its allies on a path toward winning the war.
During her visit, Secretary Clinton also reaffirmed U.S. support for
Afghanistan, where she met with U.S. embassy officials and the top
military commander for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, Stanley
In Berlin Wednesday, Germany's cabinet decided to extend by one year
the mandate for its Afghan military mission. There are about 4,000
German troops serving in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent of
foreign troops behind the United States and Britain.
NATO officials said Wednesday that they will meet in December to decide
about troop levels in Afghanistan. A NATO spokesman said their decision
will depend on President Obama's decision on whether to commit
additional U.S. soldiers.
In violence Wednesday, a member of the British Royal Military Police
was killed during a gun battle in southern Helmand province.