NEW DELHI – Hamid Karzai took the oath of office Thursday for his second term as president of Afghanistan. With US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in attendance, President Karzai delivered an inaugural address that focused on cleaning up corruption, talking with the Taliban, and setting a five-year goal for Afghans to take over their own security.
Here are his top cuts:
"Within the next three years, Afghanistan, with continued international support and in line with the growth of its defense capacity, wants to lead and conduct military operations in the many insecure areas of the country. We are determined that by the next five years, the Afghan forces are capable of taking the lead in ensuring security and stability across the country."
On the Taliban:
"We welcome and will provide necessary help to all disenchanted compatriots who are willing to return to their homes, live peacefully and accept the Constitution. We invite dissatisfied compatriots, who are not directly linked to international terrorism, to return to their homeland. We will call Afghanistan's traditional Loya Jirga [grand council] and make every effort to ensure peace in our country."
"Security and the rule of law can only be effectively ensured when both the government and the citizens are equal before the law."
"To conduct research on this problem [of corruption], we will soon organize a conference in Kabul so that we can find new and effective ways to combat this problem."
"To prevent corruption, we will adopt a law in consultation with the National Assembly for making it obligatory for senior government officials to identify the sources of their assets."
"The Government of Afghanistan considers it to be its responsibility to dismiss all government employees who are connected to the cultivation and trafficking of illicit drugs, and to deliver them to the hands of the law."
On the US relationship:
"The people of Afghanistan will never forget the sacrifices made by American soldiers to bring peace to Afghanistan. Afghanistan hopes to acquire the status of a major non-NATO ally of the United States."
Read the full speech here (pdf).