There is confusion in Afghanistan today over whether a second round run off will go ahead following the withdrawal of Abdullah Abdullah.
He boycotted the presidential race on Sunday, after accusing his rival of not meeting his demands for a fair vote free from fraud. Dr Abdullah told supporters: ‘‘I did it with a lot of pain but at the same time with a lot of hopes towards the future because this will not be an end of anything, this will be a new beginning.’‘ It has thrown next Saturday’s election into chaos. President Hamid Karzai’s campaign team say it should go ahead but the West would like the vote called off. British prime minister Gordon Brown said: ‘‘I’ve talked to President Karzai today. He wants to issue a manifesto that is a unity manifesto, an inclusive manifesto, for the Afghan people. And what we’ve talked about is how he must first of all show people how he is tackling corruption and he’s getting the right people into government. Secondly he’s got to build up the Afghan army and the police force which is a condition of us having troops in Afghanistan.’‘ The US has said Abdullah’s exit will not affect its strategy in Afghanistan. White House adviser David Axelrod said: ‘‘So we are going to deal with the government that is there, and obviously there are issues we need to discuss, such as reducing the high level of corruption there – these are issues that we will take up with President Karzai.’‘ The re-election of Karzai is now all but a mere formality, but many critics claim the inability to provide a fair ballot seriously undermines his legitimacy.