Karzai says foreign hands behind Afghan parliament crisis

Karzai`s statement came after he made a U-turn yesterday, agreeing to inaugurate the parliament this week despite fraud accusations.

Updated: Jan 26, 2011, 00:13 AM IST

Kabul: President Hamid Karzai Tuesday said
"foreign hands" were responsible for an ongoing crisis in
Afghanistan`s new parliament that has pitted lawmakers against
the US-backed president.

Karzai`s statement came after he made a U-turn
yesterday, agreeing to inaugurate the parliament this week
despite fraud accusations by losing candidates in September`s
election, having previously said he would delay it by a month.

His reversal came amid pressure from the United
Nations, United States and other Western backers who have
welcomed election results and called for a swift inauguration
of parliament.

The president has so far refused to endorse results
from the fraud-marred September poll and insists that a
special tribunal he created to adjudicate claims of
irregularities should stand.

Winning candidates say only regular Afghan courts can
lawfully rule on fraud claims and have been stuck in days of
tense negotiations with Karzai.

"Some foreign hands questioned our decisions and
started instigation to create crises in our country," Karzai
was quoted as telling the losing candidates in a statement
from his office.

They "kept provoking candidates (winning MPs) that
they should inaugurate the parliament without the president`s
participation and that we will support you," the statement
quoted the president saying.

PTI