President Karzai’s Inaugural Address: Critical Points and Policy Implications

President Hamid Karzai’s
Second Inaugural Address

Critical Points and Policy Implications

By Haseeb Humayoon, ISW Research Analyst, November 22, 2009


On November 19, 2009, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai delivered a much anticipated second inaugural address. In the thirty-minute speech, the President laid out benchmarks and commitments to be pursued over the next five years, his final term. The event was filled with symbolism, including his insistence that his two Vice Presidents—ethnic Tajik and Hazara respectively—take oath in Pashto, while he himself a Pashtun recited the Dari version. It was an image perhaps carefully choreographed, though appeared improvised, to remind Afghans of his initial popularity as a leader who transcended ethnic limits.

This paper is an analysis of the policy implications of President Karzai’s address. It will examine his remarks on key issues such as: the international military presence in Afghanistan, reconciling the insurgents, relations with the United States, composition of the new government, anti-corruption and anti-narcotics measures, past and future elections as well as enhanced Afghan role in the security sector. The quotes are from an “unofficial” translation of the speech posted on the presidential office’s website.

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