Obama Calls for New Afghan Chapter

Karzai congratulated, told to clean up his government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 2:50 AM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, today.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – President Obama congratulated Hamid Karzai on his "messy" election victory yesterday while warning him that it was time to clean up corruption in his government. "I emphasized that this has to be a point in time in which we begin to write a new chapter," said Obama, describing a phone call with the Afghan president. The White House stressed that Karzai now has legal legitimacy but still needs to earn credibility, reports AP.

Obama said he told Karzai—declared the winner of the presidential election after challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from a run-off vote—that he expected to see greater progress in training Afghan forces to take charge of the nation's security. "The proof is not going to be in words," Obama told Karzai. "It's going to be in deeds."