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Hamid Karzai, Afghan president, considering ending his presidency a year early

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said today that he is considering stepping down a year early so the country can focus on making sure the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014 goes smoothly.

Karzai 2012 04 12Enlarge
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 12, 2012. (Sawboon - Pool/Getty Images)

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said today that he is considering stepping down a year early so the country can focus on making sure the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014 goes smoothly, the Guardian reported.

Karzai’s second five-year term of office ends in 2014, and Afghanistan’s constitution requires that a presidential election be held before the end of that year, the Washington Post reported. Karzai is not eligible to run for a third term. The NATO coalition is scheduled to transfer responsibility for security to Afghanistan in 2014.

"I have been talking about this for some time now, and this is quite a good consideration, [whether] we cannot have all of that accomplished in 2014 because of the heavy agenda," Karzai said at a press conference in Kabul, with the visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen standing by, the Guardian reported.

"Should we allow the transition process to complete itself in 2014, but bring the presidential election one year earlier to 2013?" Karzai said, according to the Guardian. Karzai said he has also been consulting with his advisors on whether to move up the security transition and keep the elections in 2014, the Washington Post reported.

Karzai added he has not made up his mind on what to do, according to the Washington Post.

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Afghanistan's independent election commission has said it will not move the date of the presidential election, but if Karzai chose to resign, the commission would probably schedule an earlier election, the Guardian reported.

Just a few Afghans have said they plan to run for the presidency, the Washington Post reported. They include a former minister under Karzai, Ali Ahmad Jalali, who is based in the United States, and a member of parliament, Fawzia Koufi.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120412/hamid-karzai-afghan-president-considering-endi