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Afghan Leader Promises Clean Government

17 August 2004 -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai is promising to work to create a clean, efficient government that will serve the people's needs if he wins the 9 October presidential election.

In an interview in Kabul with Britain's "Financial Times" newspaper, Karzai pledged that his next administration would not be influenced by special-interest groups.

He said that in Afghanistan, it is governments that have broken the law, not the the people, and this must stop.

Karzai said Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim had not been chosen as his running mate because Afghanistan must have a reformist agenda based on strict government discipline.

Karzai said the Afghan state must stop the continuation of private militia forces.

Karzai is facing 17 rivals in the election, among them Yunus Qanuni, a former education minister.