With millions of votes from the ham-handed rigging of an election Hamid Karzai would have likely won being tossed out, a runoff in Afghanistan appears increasingly likely. After displaying some intransigence pressure from the Obama administration appears to have forced Mr. Karzai to back down, for now. See this link for a great article by Renard Sexton on the recount and its implications on a fair election, if one were possible. The rigging in the Afghan election has made the logistics of a runoff harder and a Zimbabwe of Kenya style compromise may be needed (though those have not worked well).

Regardless of the next step, its time to have a heart to heart with Mr. Karzai. Even with his incompetence and corruption, the Afghan people do not appear to want the Taliban back, for now. But a failure to provide security could cause the Pashtun majority to remember the relative peace in the brutal Taliban regime with nostalgia. If America is supposed to keep fighting in what is now an Afghan civil war, it needs a partner on the ground whose administration put added obstacles in its way. Just as Pakistan is not getting a free ride, neither can the corrupt Karzai government. With the patience of American public opinion running out, America may be better off cutting bait. If Hamid Karzai and his backers do not want this to happen, they need to shape up. Even if some of the problems are caused by Hamid Karzai’s weaknesses, he cannot turn a blind eye to the corruption in his inner circle and family any more. The fate of Moussa Arafat should warn them of the fate of corrupt, nepotistic cronies when their protector moves on.

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