In his first speech since being declared the winner of a second presidential term, Afghan President Hamid Karzai promised to tackle the corruption that has come to define his government in the eyes of many Afghans.
"We are aware of the difficulties of our governance and the environment in which we live," Karzai sad. "We will keep trying our best to address the questions that we have, facing Afghanistan and to ensure that the wishes of Afghan people come true towards an effective, clean government, legally bound."
Karzai did not offer specific measures to fight corruption and while he spoke, running mate Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim was at his side. Fahim, a former defense minister, is accused of trafficking drugs.
Asked if he would fire ministers suspected of crimes, Karzai said the problems can't be solved solely by changing personnel.
Acutely aware that many Western officials see him as part of the problem, Karzai also vowed to respect the financial commitment Western nations have made to the country, saying he would "make sure that the taxpayer money coming to us from your countries is spent wisely and rightly by us, the Afghan government."
Karzai had some critical words for his former challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, for leaving the race. However, he offered an olive branch to his opponents.
"As I've stated earlier, it will be a government of unity," he said. "It should be a government for all Afghan people."
Vote Rigging Marred First Round of Afghan Voting
His comments came the day after Afghanistan's presidential election ended without a final vote, as the country's top election official cancelled a run-off between Karzai and Abdullahh which had been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7.
"We declare Mr. Karzai, who won the most votes in the first round, the elected president of Afghanistan," said Azizullah Lodin, chairman of the Independent Election Commission.
International monitors disqualified more than 1 million fraudulent votes for Karzai in the first round of voting, leaving him with a lead over Abdullah, but not a majority of the vote. With his total under 50 percent, a runoff was scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7.
The run-off had become a one-candidate race on Sunday when Abdullah withdrew, saying the widespread fraud that had plagued the first round had not been remedied.
Today, Ambassador Tim Carney, the head of the U.S. Interagency Electoral Support Team, told ABC News that changes had been made to help prevent fraud in the second round. He mentioned, for instance, that coalition forces were to use drones to help gauge voter turnout.
Asked if a first round marred by fraud and a second round cancelled altogether undermined the overall success of the election, he added, "I'm not disappointed. This is not our country. It is part of the slow maturation of Afghan democracy."