Kerry: Before Troops, Decide Afghan Vote

Senator John Kerry said today that more U.S. troops could not be sent to Afghanistan before a conclusion has been reached in that country's disputed presidential election.

In an interview with CBS News while visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, "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."

With results from the controversial election (in which independent monitors have said there was vote fraud) currently undergoing a recount, the possibility exists that President Hamid Karzai may be forced into a runoff election with his nearest challenger, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, further delaying the installation of a new administration.

The charges of election fraud and other allegations of corruption which have dogged his government further jeopardize the legitimacy of his re-election should the recount put him on top.

Kerry said it was time for Karzai to "step up" and share a vision of how the Afghan government can be a functioning partner in the mission.

The full interview will be featured on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, October 18, 2009.
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