Re-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed to form an inclusive government on Tuesday after stern warnings from Western supporters he would have to work harder to root out corruption.
Afghan election officials on Monday cancelled a needless presidential run-off vote after Karzai’s only rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew citing serious concerns about the election.
The outcome leaves the US and other Western supporters to work with a partner whose legitimacy has been questioned, while Karzai himself faces the prospect of having to work with a newly strengthened opposition.
Afghanistan endured weeks of political uncertainty after the August 20 first round was marred by widespread fraud, a crisis deepened by a resurgent Taliban who had vowed to disrupt the vote.
Karzai’s return removes at least one obstacle as US President Barack Obama weighs whether to send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, where violence this year reached its worst levels.