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Abdullah rejects Karzai’s invitation to join govt.

The Afghan president’s main election rival Abdullah Abdullah snubs Hamid Karzai’s invitation to join a unity government, saying the recently sworn-in head of state is not able to live up to expectations at home and abroad.

“I think this government will not be able to respond to the demands of the Afghan people in the future either,” Abdullah told a news conference after Thursday’s inauguration ceremony of Karzai.

The former foreign minister made the comments after Karzai, in his inauguration speech, invited him to “come together to achieve the important task of national unity.”

“I didn’t see any new idea offered by Mr. Karzai or promise made to the people or to the international community, so I would be hopeful, regardless of my own position that the situation will get better, but as far as I am concerned, mine (my side) has never been asking for posts,” Abdullah was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“Over the past eight years very good opportunities have slipped through the hands of the Afghan people because of the failures of this government,” Abdullah charged.

The August 20 presidential election, marred by widespread allegations of fraud, failed to produce a winner by the majority of the vote, resulting in a run-off between Karzai and Abdullah.

The planned November 7 run-off, however, was never held since Abdullah decided to pull out, saying that his demands for ensuring a fraud-free election were rejected.

Abdullah had called for the dismissal of the head of the IEC, Azizullah Lodin, accusing him of rigging the vote in favor of Karzai.

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