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Zardari in Kabul for inauguration: official

world Updated: Nov 18, 2009 23:29 IST

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari flew into Kabul today to attend the inauguration of his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai for a second five-year term in power, Karzai's office said.

Security was tight in and around Kabul as "foreign guests" including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived to attend the ceremony, scheduled to take place at the presidential palace tomorrow.

"Pakistan's President His Excellency Asif Ali Zardari just arrived," Hamid Elmi, a presidential palace official told AFP.

"Other guests are arriving and others are expected to arrive tomorrow," he said, without giving further details.

Karzai was declared the winner of August 20 fraud-tainted elections after his rival Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from a run-off vote.

To many Afghans, Karzai's presidency lacks legitimacy, his government lacks authority, and the way in which he took the presidency lacks credibility.

Karzai has come under intense pressure to ensure his next government is clean, as the astonishing levels of official fraud revealed by the election have seen Western public opinion turn against support for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, two countries bound together in the new US foreign policy focus on defeating Al-Qaeda in south Asia, are neighbours with relations scarred by decades of mistrust that ebb and flow with different regimes.