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Afghans react to Karzai inauguration

Afghans react to Karzai inauguration
Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Nov. 3, 2009. UPI/Hossein Fatemi | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- There was little cheering among some of the Afghans who watched Hamid Karzai's inauguration to another term as president of a country hobbled by corruption.

Though Thursday had been declared a national holiday, many in Kabul, which remained under tight security, did not even bother to watch the inauguration on television, The New York Times reported. Among those who did, there was only skepticism, the report said.

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Hamid Backshi, 28, an iron worker, eating lunch with a friend at a restaurant, said: "We hope to hear truths, not lies. We've heard lots of lies. They put their hand on the holy Koran and swear they will do good, but then everything gets worse."

Taimoor Shamsi, 25, a friend of Backshi's who runs a fiberglass shop, said corruption is the biggest problem Karzai must tackle in addition to creating jobs.

"I've bribed the traffic department and the soldiers because otherwise they will put you in prison, even if you have done nothing," Shamsi said. "The soldier asks for money because he has to give money at the end of the day to his commander."

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Mohammed Nabi, 52, who runs grocery shop in a neighborhood of Karzai's fellow Pashtuns, said: "I didn't watch the inauguration. I have no expectations. Once we tried him and he failed. We don't need to try him again."

A lawyer blamed Americans for returning Karzai in power, the Times said.

A library worker said Karzai "needs to get rid of all the warlords who were involved in war crimes, and all the people are saying this."

It was more or less the same reaction in the provinces with some of the people more insistent that Karzai crack down on corruption.

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