posted by GeoT
A runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah will take place Nov. 7
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — A presidential runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah will take place on November 7, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission told CNN.
The runoff was accepted by Karzai at a news conference with U.S. Senator John Kerry and United Nations representative Kai Eide.
“We welcome the decision made by the Independent Election Commission, we believe the session is legitimate, legal and according to the constitution of Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “It’s going to be a historic period that we all are waiting to go through.”
Before President Obama makes a decision about sending any additional troops to Afghanistan, there must be a careful assessment of the strength and viability of the Afghan government, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.
“It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country,” Emanuel said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Emanuel criticized the culture in Washington that immediately ramps up calls for a more hawkish policy in Afghanistan when the war has been going on for eight years and the urgency to contain extremism and corruption in Afghanistan was ignored for efforts in Iraq.
Sen. Kerry on Afghanistan
“I don’t see how President Obama can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces or even the further fulfillment of our mission that’s here today without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government’s going to be,” he said.
Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, is resisting international pressure to accept fraud rulings that could force him into a runoff with his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.
Kerry said there also should be a clear commitment in Afghanistan to eliminating government waste and corruption before Obama agrees to send more U.S. troops.
18 OCT 2009 Update: Pakistan, Taliban both claim success in fighting
MIR ALI, Pakistan –The Pakistani army and the Taliban claimed to be inflicting heavy casualties on each other as fierce fighting raged Sunday on the second day of a military assault on an al-Qaida and Taliban sanctuary close to the Afghan border.
The outcome of the operation in South Waziristan stands to shape the future of nuclear-armed Pakistan and the militant groups seeking to topple its U.S.-backed government. The region is home to jihadists behind soaring terrorist attacks around the country, as well as al-Qaida and other extremists believed to be plotting strikes in the West.
The army said 60 militants had been killed on the first day of the operation, while six soldiers had died. The Taliban claimed to have inflicted “heavy casualties” on the army and to have pushed invading soldiers back into their bases.
It was not possible to independently verify the conflicting claims because the army is blocking access to the battlefield and surrounding towns.
UN-backed panel confirms massive Afghan fraud
KABUL – U.N.-backed fraud investigators on Monday threw out nearly a third of President Hamid Karzai’s votes from the August election, undercutting his claim of victory and stepping up the pressure for him to accept a runoff.
The Obama administration has been holding off on a decision to send more troops to Afghanistan until a credible government is installed in Kabul.
Both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.N. secretary general signaled on Monday that a resolution was near.
Clinton said Karzai planned to announce his intentions on Tuesday, adding that she was “encouraged at the direction the situation is moving.”