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London praises end to Karzai presidency

London praises end to Karzai presidency
Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Tehran, Iran on June 24, 2011. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo

LONDON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Though London said the memo was routine, a Cabinet secretary was seen with a document saying the Afghan president's departure was good for the country.

Interior Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell was photographed leaving government offices with a sensitive memo stating Afghan President Hamid Karzai's decision not to seek a third term in 2014 "significantly" improved the country's outlook.

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"This is very important," the BBC quoted the document as stating. "It improves Afghanistan's political prospects very significantly. We should welcome Karzai's announcement in private and in public."

Karzai's re-election to a second term in office in 2009 was marred by rampant allegations of vote-rigging and fraud during the presidential contest. He's barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, but there had been allegations he would press for a continuation of his tenure.

Mitchell, according to the BBC, said the memo contained "nothing top secret" and the British government described the document as "routine."

GALLERY: The War in Afghanistan 2011

The British government aims to pull its 9,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan out by the end of 2014. Karzai said he's like to have Afghan forces in charge of security operations by then.

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Meanwhile, the Commission on Wartime Contracting, set up by the U.S. Senate in 2007, found the U.S. government wasted more than $30 billion in contracts and grants awarded to private contracts working in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 10 years.

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