Karzai to step down as Afghan leader in 2014: Gates

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:32pm EDT

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) listens as Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai speaks at a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul June 4, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) listens as Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai speaks at a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul June 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hamid Karzai has said privately he intends to step down in 2014 as president of Afghanistan as required by the country's constitution, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate panel on Wednesday.

Afghanistan's constitution limits a president to two terms in office but there has been speculation in the past that Karzai might attempt to change the rules to allow him to stay in office longer.

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