Afghanistan could be headed for early presidential elections to ensure Afghans are not going to the polls at the same time foreign troops are pulling out. Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the possibility of holding a vote next year - and not in 2014 - during a news conference Thursday with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kabul. Mr. Karzai said he has discussed the possibility with his inner circle but that no decision has yet been made. The Afghan leader is required to step down in 2014, just as international combat forces are scheduled to leave the country. There have been concerns the combination of an election just as Afghan forces are taking over complete responsibility for security could put the country under too much strain.
President Karzai won a second five-year term in 2009. The Afghan constitution bars him from seeking re-election. During Thursday's press briefing, NATO's secretary-general said the coalition was on track to fully hand over security responsibility to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014, as scheduled. Rasmussen said that Afghan forces were increasingly capable of taking the lead as foreign troops leave. He also said NATO's commitment to Afghanistan will remain strong even after foreign combat troops withdraw. Rasmussen said the next phase of the transition will be mapped out at next month's NATO summit in the U.S. city of Chicago. Negotiations are currently underway on a U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement that will outline the U.S. presence in the country beyond 2014.
2012-04-13 21:05 编辑：crystal156