Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Secretary Clinton make surprise visit to Afghanistan

Secretary Hillary Clinton arrived in Kabul Afghanistan on Wednesday, November 18th. She was met by General Stanley A. McChrystal and General Karl W. Eikenberry at the military airport in Kabul when she arrived.

On her way back from Beijing, Secretary Clinton stopped unannounced in Afghanistan. Her arrival in Kabul marks the most senior visit by a member of President Obama's administration, which has kept Karzai at arm's length.

Clinton’s surprise visit comes on the eve of Mr. Karzai’s inauguration to another term and it meant to send a message of American support for his government after a chaotic election in which he emerged as the winner despite charges of rampant ballot stuffing and other fraud.

But Secretary Clinton said she also planned to press Mr. Karzai for tangible results in tackling other forms of corruption, which many experts cite as one of the leading culprits for Afghanistan’s deteriorating security.

“We are asking that they follow through on much of what they previously said, including putting together a credible anticorruption governmental entity... They’ve done some work on that, but in our view, not nearly enough to demonstrate a seriousness of purpose to tackle corruption... We are concerned about corruption. We obviously think it has an impact on the quality and capacity of governance.”
Mrs. Clinton said she was troubled that Mr. Karzai had named as one of his two vice presidents Marshal Muhammad Fahim, whom American officials believe has been involved in the drug trade, as well as forging a political alliance with General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a warlord suspected of corruption, saying “It certainly raises questions.”

After speaking to diplomats at the United States Embassy upon her arrival, Clinton said that the inauguration provided a “window of opportunity” for Mr. Karzai to “make a new compact with the people of Afghanistan” and to create a more accountable government.

“We want to be a strong partner with the government and people of Afghanistan... This is a turning point that we will face together.”
More Details to come as they flow in!

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