KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan will hold a conference on corruption in the near future, an official said Tuesday, at a time when President Hamid Karzai has come under pressure from Western countries to root out rampant graft in his government.
Karzai’s spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said the conference would also address reconstruction and development with Afghanistan’s major donors.
The announcement comes a day after a deputy attorney general said two Afghan cabinet ministers were being investigated under suspicion of embezzlement.
“We are planning a major conference in Kabul to lay out our plan for the next five years,” Hamidzada told reporters at a news conference in Kabul. He did not give a specific date for the conference, but said it would be held “very soon.”
Sworn in last week for a second five-year term, Karzai’s reputation was severely damaged after a U.N.-backed inquiry found a third of votes cast for him in the August 20 vote were fake.
In his inauguration speech, Karzai pledged to name competent and honest ministers. He is expected to unveil his cabinet in the coming weeks.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his decision on whether to send up to 40,000 more American troops to Afghanistan in a presidential television address next Tuesday.
One factor that has complicated his deliberations has been concerns about corruption in Karzai’s government. Obama has said he wants to ensure Karzai is a reliable, trustworthy partner.
Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by David Fox