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A milestone towards a democratic Afghanistan

8 December 2004

Inauguration a milestone towards a democratic Afghanistan

The Prime Minister Helen Clark has welcomed the inauguration of Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan, hailing it as a significant milestone in Afghanistan's progress towards constitutional and democratic government.

President Karzai won Afghanistan’s first democratic presidential election on 9 October.

"I first met Hamid Karzai in October last year, during a visit to Kabul," said Helen Clark.

"New Zealand played a constructive role during the presidential election period through the NZDF-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan," said Helen Clark.

"The Provincial Reconstruction Team provided a reassuring security presence in the province, with increased patrols and information campaigns to encourage voting.

"The result was a particularly high voter turnout, including of women voters, in Bamyan. NZAID funding also contributed to electoral assistance programmes through UN and local civilian agencies.

“Afghanistan has come a long way in a short time, but much remains to be done.

"New Zealand will continue to work with President Karzai’s government and with the international community to support the re-establishment of security and governance in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections next year, to meet the ongoing development needs of Afghanistan and its people", said Helen Clark.

ENDS


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