In DC and Kabul, uncertainty reigns
By Ben Pershing
The Afghanistan war has become plagued by uncertainty both on the ground and in the halls of Washington, as the government there wobbles through the aftermath of a disputed election and the one here remains divided over the way forward.
The progress of "Obama's War" has become dependent on the domestic politics of both nations. In Kabul, the post-election situation is, to put it gently, fluid. Abdullah Abdullah, the runner-up in the balloting to Hamid Karzai, "said Wednesday he was preparing for a runoff to decide the disputed election here. But he left open the possibility that he might join a coalition with Mr. Karzai that would make a new round of voting unnecessary," the New York Times writes. Got that? Abdullah's indecision comes after Karzai finally agreed to a runoff, following days of talks with John Kerry.
"According to one Western diplomat, the Afghan president was more comfortable dealing with Sen. Kerry than with U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry or the administration's special representative to the region, Richard Holbrooke," the Wall Street Journal reports, adding that Holbrooke had previously "angered" Karzai. Kerry -- previously spurned in his desire to be Obama's secretary of state -- gets lots of favorable press for this deal, including a Boston Globe front-page headline: "For Kerry, a diplomatic triumph." The Washington Times focuses on Holbrooke's absence, noting that when "Mr. Obama praised his diplomatic team for its success, Mr. Holbrooke's name was pointedly missing." The envoy's staff says he's busy in Washington, working on the president's Afpak strategic review.
Posted at 8:28 AM ET on Oct 21, 2009
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