Tags: afghan | karzai | US | troops

Afghan Political Chaos Big Blow To White House War Strategy

Sunday, 01 November 2009 09:07 PM

The U.S. and Britain are seeking to portray the decision by Abdullah Abdullah, the former foreign minister, to withdraw from the second round of Afghanistan's presidential election as a gesture of national unity.

The election was supposed to have provided the U.S. with a solid and credible partner as it prepared to unveil a new strategy to counter a resurgent Taliban. Instead, the U.S. and Britain now find themselves saddled with a government of questionable legitimacy while public opinion in both countries is turning against the war.

Even before Abdullah's emotional announcement in front of thousands of supporters, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, insisted a withdrawal would not undermine Saturday's election runoff.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the legitimacy of the election," Clinton told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. "It's a personal choice... We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward."

In a statement released by the U.S. state department last night, Clinton, who was on her way to Morocco, praised Abdullah for running a "dignified and constructive" campaign, but said it was up to Afghan officials to decide the way ahead after his withdrawal. She said the US would support the next Afghan president and the Afghan people and that Afghan officials had to conclude the electoral process in a way that was in line with the Afghan constitution.

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Sunday, 01 November 2009 09:07 PM
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