America has admitted its growing worries over Afghanistan, by questioning the credibility of President Hamid Karzai. The doubts come as the White House ponders sending thousands of extra troops to fight the Taliban. The influential Democratic Senator John Kerry said questions over the legitimacy of Karzai’s re-election undermine international support for his government.
“I don’t see how President Obama can make a decision about committing additional forces, or even the further fulfilment of our mission that’s here today, without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government’s going to be,” Kerry said. Investigations continue into Karzai’s victory, and it’s still not known when the final results will be released. The uncertainty is fuelling American concerns. “When you’re creating what the American force would be expected to do in General McChrystal’s report, is create a space and an opportunity for the Afghans to fill,” said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “And the question is, do you have a credible partner that could then fill that space that we’re asking the American troops to create?” The feeling in Washington is that President Obama will not commit any more troops until he is convinced Karzai is a credible and effective partner in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.