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Karzai accuses 'foreign hands' of forcing him to open Afghan parliament

Kabul, Wed, 26 Jan 2011 ANI

Kabul, Jan.26 (ANI): President Hamid Karzai has accused unnamed foreign hands of pushing him to open Afghanistan"""""""s parliament on Wednesday.


he ceremony was held in the national assembly compound and came four months after Afghanistan held its second post-Taliban parliamentary elections, the results of which have met with massive controversy over claims of widespread fraud.


"Congratulations," the Telegraph quoted Karzai, as saying after swearing the politicians in with the placing of a hand on a copy of the Koran, watched over by government ministers, foreign diplomats and the head of US-led Nato forces in the country, General David Petraeus.


The embattled Afghan president had last week said he would delay the opening of parliament for a month to allow time for a special tribunal to investigate claims of irregularities in September parliamentary elections.


Meeting with hundreds of losing candidates in his palace on Tuesday, Karzai had accused "foreign hands" of influencing his decision to go ahead with the ceremony.


"Some foreign hands questioned our decisions and started instigation to create crises in our country," Karzai said, according to a statement released by his office earlier.


They "kept provoking candidates (winning MPs) that they should inaugurate the parliament without the president"""""""s participation and that we will support you," the statement quoted the president saying.


The elections have been controversial, not only because of the fraud that saw nearly a quarter of about five million votes thrown out, but also because of the relatively few wins by Pashtuns, Afghanistan"""""""s biggest ethnic group and Karzai"""""""s traditional power base.


Karzai has never endorsed the final outcome of the vote. (ANI)


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