|Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai speaks during the opening ceremony of the third legislative year of the Afghanistan parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 6, 2013. Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday assured his countrymen of having free and fair presidential elections scheduled for April 5, 2014. (Xinhua/Ahmad)
KABUL, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday assured his countrymen of having free and fair presidential elections scheduled for April 5, 2014.
Inaugurating the third legislative year of Afghan parliament, the president pointed out,"I am in favor of holding free and fair elections and believe that fair and transparent elections certainly take the country towards durable peace and stability".
He made these remarks in the wake of calling by certain circles at home and abroad to have transparent elections in Afghanistan in 2014 when the NATO-led forces leave the conflict-ridden country.
"Next year elections are your opportunity to chose the future you want that is your sovereign rights, it is your sovereign role and it is your sovereign responsibility whether these elections are inclusive and that its process and outcome are acceptable to Afghan people," NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a joint press conference with Karzai during his visit to Afghanistan two days ago on Monday.
Political oppositions at home have leveled allegations that president Karzai has been attempting to monopolize the election body and ensure his supporters' success in the next presidential polls.
Allaying the concerns of critics, Karzai stated, "I like to be a person with good reputation after quitting the office and I am supporting a free and transparent elections to enable people elect their next president".
Defending his government's achievements over the past decade, the Afghan leader noted that the country's economy has been stabilized and today Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserve reaches 6.5 billion U.S. dollars.
He also said that the security transition process from NATO- led troops to Afghan national forces is on track and presently the security of more than 77 percent of the country's population is covered by national forces.Karzai also called on Taliban militants to give up fighting and play their role in the rebuilding process of Afghanistan.
The Afghan president also called on security organs of his government to respect human rights and dignity of citizens as envisaged in the constitution.
In part of his address, the president confirmed that talks on security pact between Kabul and Washington are going on.He also said some of the troops countributing nations within ISAF want to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 pullout of NATO-led ISAF from the country.