Obama’s victory may be starting point for Afghan leadership change

November 5th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaKabul, Nov 5 (DPA) Barack Obama winning in the US presidential election could be a starting point for a leadership change in Afghanistan, opposition politicians predicted, as many ordinary Afghans welcomed the victory and hoped the new administration could put an end to the country’s decades-long conflict.”I think the change in the leadership of the US government could be a starting point for a change in Afghanistan,” Doud Sultanzoy, member of lower house of parliament said Wednesday.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, former prime minister during the Mujahideen’s government in early 1990s, also said that it was time that “Karzai must leave the office.”

“The (President George W.) Bush government only supported Karzai and left out others and that is why we have such an incompetent administration,” said Ahmadzai, who ran for presidency in 2004, but lost to Karzai.

Sayed Fazel Sangcharki, spokesman for the opposition National United Front, also welcomed Obama’s victory and said his party wanted the president-elect to re-evaluate US policies in Afghanistan.

This prediction by the Karzai’s political rivals comes amid reports that the US government would look for a replacement of the current administration.

Obama has been critical of Karzai’s administration, which he said was not responsive enough to deliver services to its people.

Afghanistan’s presidential election is scheduled for fall 2009. So far, except for Karzai, no other candidates have surfaced.

But Waheed Muzhda, an Afghan writer and political analyst, said many potential candidates were waiting until after the US elections.

“Now that the Democrats have the power, we will see a big list of candidates.”

Asked about his relations with Obama, Karzai told reporters that “Afghanistan is an independent country with 3,000 years of history, so the president of Afghanistan and its government should be elected by the people of Afghanistan”.

“The US government, and other governments in Europe or our neighbours, are with us in the fight against terrorism, and they are welcome, we will cooperate with them,” he said. “They are with us in reconstruction, they are welcomed, but our fate will be determined by our own hands not by them.”

Karzai also said that his government would only accept the deployment of additional foreign troops if they were sent to areas “where they are most needed, like in Afghan borders.”

“We don’t see any need for an increase of foreign forces in Afghan cities, if they come they should be deployed where they are needed and of course in consultation with Afghan government,” he said.

“No foreign forces could come to Afghanistan without consultation of the Afghan government.”

Obama said several times during his campaign that if elected, he would increase US troops in Afghanistan and threatened to attack terrorist targets in Pakistani tribal areas to eliminate Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctuaries.

The United States has around 35,000 soldiers in Afghanistan while the same number has been deployed to Afghanistan by 39 other countries since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban regime.

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