The hope for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan after almost 10 years of war has increased, President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday, reinforcing his wish for a political settlement to the intractable conflict. During a long address at his presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai made no direct reference to peace talks between his government and the Taliban and other insurgents. But he said Afghanistan and its allies were all working towards a settlement and that he hoped significant improvements would be achieved within one or two years. "Hope for peace in Afghanistan has increased. The international community, our neighbours and all our people are endeavouring a lot towards it," Karzai said. "We are in contact with our neighbours ... so that they endorse this process and we are hopeful that we all see improvement in the security situation and stability of our country within a year or two, compared to what we have today and yesterday," Karzai said.