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US presses Karzai on corruption

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    US presses Karzai on corruption

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to tackle corruption and improve governance in his new term in office.Speaking in the Philippines, Mrs Clinton said Mr Karzai must demonstrate "that his second term will respond to the needs that are so manifest".

    Earlier it emerged that the American ambassador in Kabul warned against a US troop surge unless Mr Karzai acted.

    His views are at odds with US generals recommending a major troop deployment.

    Expressing concern about corruption in Afghanistan, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry - a former military commander in Afghanistan - said it was "not a good idea" to send substantially more soldiers, the BBC has been told.

    Washington has not publicly reacted to Mr Eikenberry's comments, which appeared in a leaked message to the White House during the past week, according to US media reports.

    It comes amid intense debate over US strategy in Afghanistan, with President Obama yet to make a decision on troop numbers.

    The top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has urged an injection of about 40,000 more troops.

    The US currently has some 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, among a coalition force of more than 100,000.

    The diplomatic dispatch appears to be a dramatic and last-minute intervention by the ambassador, says BBC Washington correspondent Adam Brookes.

    Gen McChrystal was said to be fuming about Mr Eikenberry's intervention.

    Rule of law

    Mrs Clinton did not comment on Mr Eikenberry's reported remarks, but voiced concern about "corruption, lack of transparency, poor governance, absence of the rule of law" in Afghanistan.

    • Top US military commander in Afghanistan for two years
    • Deputy chair of Nato's military committee at Brussels in 2007
    • Quit army commission to be US ambassador in Kabul this year
    • Front line US official dealing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai

    US opinion on Afghan strategy

    In pictures: Obama team divided

    "We're looking to President Karzai as he forms a new government to take action that will demonstrate - not just to the international community but first and foremost to his own people - that his second term will respond the needs that are so manifest," she said.

    Mr Karzai won presidential elections held in August, although the polls were tainted with accusations of corruption and vote-rigging.

    A spokesman for President Karzai has insisted the Afghan administration was "serious" about tackling corruption, AFP news agency reported.

    Siamak Herawi also suggested that Western governments could play a bigger role in combating abuse of aid donations.

    "We want the international community to do more to eliminate corruption in spending aid money," he was quoted as saying.

    "Corruption in the international aid money spending affects Afghanistan, Afghan people and their lives, and the Afghan administration."
    I said in search of my botni, not in search of my bhootni. Please stop sending me PMs.