The White House today linked an upcoming decision on future U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to a resolution of the impasse, as CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports.
The White House sent a powerful message this morning to Hamid Karzai - no extra troops until he proves his government is credible.
"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," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on CNN Sunday.
U.S. diplomats have been urging the incumbent Afghan leader to repair an election widely believed to be rigged, by choosing one of two options. According to Emanuel: "One is another runoff election between the two top candidates, or a negotiation between those candidates."
Waiting for an afghan election result also buys President Obama more time to decide his Afghan war strategy. But it could delay a decision until January.
"At some point, deliberation begins to look more like indecisiveness, which then becomes a way of emboldening our enemies, and causing our allies to question our resolve," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex.,.
Mr. Obama has held been five war cabinet meetings this fall, with more coming this week, and next. The main debate: whether to commit up to 40,000 extra U.S. troops to help protect the Afghan people from Taliban insurgents - a strategy known as counterinsurgency.
The other main option stresses more counterterrorism, which would boost the numbers of special operating forces to go after the Taliban and al Qaeda.
A top U.S. official in the war cabinet meetings said that the face-off over these two strategies is overblown by the media. He said those in the room think both are needed; it's just a question of how many U.S. troops to commit to bridge the gap, until the afghans can protect their own.