Afghan president vows to step down in 2014

Afghan president vows to step down in 2014
# 06 February 2013 03:08 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai says he will step down in 2014 at the end of his second term, APA reports quoting Press TV.

"The question of me staying as the president beyond 2014 is out of the question," Karzai said on Tuesday in the Norwegian capital city of Oslo in response to reporters’ questions regarding recent speculation that he was keen to stay in power.

Karzai was elected president in 2004 and was reelected in 2009. However, reports have indicated that there were widespread electoral frauds in both polls.

The Afghan president further highlighted that he was not seeking a third term and Afghanistan’s constitution does not allow it. “There will be an election and a new president will come.”

Earlier in January he vowed to leave power next year at a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama in Washington.

“The greatest of my achievements eventually, seen by the Afghan people, will be a proper, well-organized, interference-free election in which the Afghan people can elect their next president,” Karzai said on January 11.

He also said that he will be “a retired president, and very happily a retired president.”

Afghanistan will hold its next presidential election in April 2014, a few months ahead of the end of NATO's mission in the war-torn country.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terrorism. The invasion removed the Taliban from power, but the country remains insecure despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led forces there.