Bay Area Afghans react to elections

November 2, 2009 7:37:20 PM PST
Hamid Karzai will remain the president of Afghanistan for a second term. His only challenger in Saturday's run-off election pulled out of the race, claiming the vote would have only been corrupt -- again.

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Hamid Karzai will remain the president of Afghanistan for a second term. His only challenger in Saturday's run-off election pulled out of the race, claiming the vote would have only been corrupt -- again.

The White House released a photo taken this on Monday afternoon of President Obama on the phone offering his congratulations to Hamid Karzai, after Karzai was declared the winner in Afghanistan's presidential election.

"Although the process was messy, I'm pleased to say the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law," said President Obama.

While calling Karzai's presidency legitimate, the administration refused to call Karzai's leadership credible. Kazai's re-election came after widespread fraud in the first round of voting and a cancelled run-off election because challenger Abdullah Abdullah called the process corrupt.

The United Nations secretary general says it is was the most difficult election the U.N. has ever supported.

"The United Nations stands solid with the people of Afghanistan and the new president to help meet some of those challenges in the coming months," said UN spokesperson Siddique Aleem.

For many Bay Area Afghans, there is a sense of disappointment and frustration but also a sense of resignation.

Waheed Momand spent the last five years in Afghanistan working for reform. He says the people of his country are willing to support even a Karzai presidency if the movement is given a role to bring about change.

"I know the feeling of the people. I know the feeling of the people on the streets," said Dr. Momand.

Dr. Momand says the international community must now pressure president Karzai to include a unified coalition in his government that would bring an element of trust to the leadership and help defeat the Taliban.

"Our safety is also at stake, it's not just Karzai's legitimacy or not legitimacy it's the whole world at stake here. We have to put all the pressure as possible to form a government that will be trusted by the people," said he said.

While president Karzai get's a second chance in Afghanistan, it comes with demands for progress.

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