McCain: "It's Time to Act" in Afghanistan

Sen. John McCain said the White House was dragging its feet on the decision to increase troop levels and chided President Barack Obama for the delay, saying "it's time to act."

"We watch this situation continue to deteriorate while this long protracted process of decision-making goes on. We're not operating in a vacuum. The president of the United States needs to make this decision and soon," McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS' "The Early Show." (Watch the video at left)

Violence continues to flare up in that country as the president recommended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for 12 more deaths Wednesday, including one American, after in Kabul. U.S. troop deaths made October the deadliest month for American forces since the 2001 invasion.

Special Report: Afghanistan

But McCain said the spike in violence, believed tied to Afghanistan's upcoming runoff election, should not dissuade Mr. Obama from authorizing the troop increase.

"Yes, it's a heavy responsibility. But to drag that responsibility out and that process out is not helpful to our effort," he said.

The Afghanistan war effort is gaining some detractors. Matthew Hoh, an Iraq war veteran and State Department official, Tuesday in protest over the United States' continued presence there.

Hoh said the violence was rooted in opposition to the American occupation, not for ideological reasons.

McCain respectfully disagreed.

"The strategy is right. The strategy has been reviewed time and time again since march when the president announced his support for it. The strategy is there. And everybody knows that the troop number is around 40,000. So there is not reason for further delay."

Amid the debate over troop levels, the New York Times reported Wednesday that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has been on CIA payroll for much of the past eight years, despite his alleged involvement in the illegal opium trade.

McCain said plainly that was wrong.

"Well, I'd heard that rumor before. I think it's wrong. It's wrong of the CIA to do it and I'm sure our military commanders there would disagree with it."

Meanwhile, attacks continued in neighboring Pakistan as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for a three-day trip aimed at showing U.S. support for that country's ongoing battle against militants.

A car bomb in the restive northwest region of the country, killing 80 people.

McCain said he felt the Pakistani government was doing "much better" in its campaign against extremists, but cautioned it was a "long, difficult process" – one the U.S. can't afford to let it lose.

"I would remind you again that Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country. And with a nuclear arsenal, we certainly can't afford to see the collapse of Pakistan either."