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Afghanistan: Abdullah Withdraws, US Political Plan Collapses

Emergency Analysis: Josh Shahryar on Afghanistan's Political Turmoil
Understanding “Mr Obama’s Wars”: Five Essential Analyses on Afghanistan and Pakistan

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karzai4ABDULLAH ABDULLAHConfused by the political developments in Afghanistan as challenger Abdullah Abdullah pulls out of a runoff against President Hamid Karzai? All you have to do is go back and check Enduring America's four-sentence guide from mid-October to elections, fraud, and politics:

1. Karzai accepts runoff. Check.

OK, no problem there. Karzai --- who may or may not have rigged a first-round election in which almost 30 percent of his votes were thrown out, who may or may not be presiding over a Government better known for corruption rather than financial management, whose brother may or may not be a) rich from said corruption b) tied into Afghan drug money c) a CIA agent --- has been been playing nice since he was told by US officials to go through a second-round show of democracy.

2. US declares satisfaction. President Obama to reporters, “President Karzai, as well as the other candidates have shown that they have the interests of the Afghan people at heart.” Check. Still OK there, Washington has made it known that, whatever happens, there will be a run-off to give legitimacy to a Karzai Government.

3. Closest challenger Abdullah Abdullah accepts runoff. Check. Oops! Looks like the plan just came unstuck because....

4. Coalition government with both Karzai and Abdullah to be formed. Wait for it — it will come soon after the 7 November run-off. Double Oops! The two Afghan political figures could not come to a resolution of their political issues and differences. This was always going to be the tricky part as, even with a prominent position, Abdullah would be playing second fiddle to Karzai.

5. US then declares troop escalation. Could be a pre-Christmas present for all of us. Hold that present, folks. President Obama, who has been delaying a decision on troop levels until the new Afghan Government could be declared, now has his problems compounded. He's not very happy with a military boost amidst political turmoil but, given the accusations of "ditherer" from a loud minority in the US who define success as more American soldiers, he will be under intense pressure.

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