Washington: US President Barack Obama faces imminent prospect of having a weak partner in Afghanistan, a leading US daily on Monday said.
Obama faces a new complication in Afghanistan, The New York Times published a news analysis after Dr Abdullah Abdullah announced in Kabul to withdraw from the presidential race – which was to be decided through the November 7 run-off.
The complication is, wrote the daily, "enabling a badly tarnished partner to regain enough legitimacy to help the United States find the way out of an eight-year-old war."
It will not be easy, warned The New York Times.
"As the evidence mounted in late summer that Mr Karzai`s forces had sought to win re-election through widespread fraud to defeat his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, administration officials made no secret of their disgust," the daily said.
In the past few years, The New York Times has been known for publishing news reports against Karzai, which the Afghan President has very often charged that is many a times factually incorrect and politically motivated.
Last week, the daily published a news report from Kabul that the brother of Karzai was a CIA agent and a well known illicit drug trader.
Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was quick to issue a statement noting that he has not seen "hard facts" from the US officials in this regard. He even wrote a letter to the CIA director Leon Panetta, seeking information in this regard.
The New York Times today said that the officials of the Obama administration argue that Karzai will have to regain that legitimacy by changing the way he governs, at a moment when he is politically weaker than at any time since 2001.
"We`re going to know in the next three to six months whether he`s doing anything differently — whether he can seriously address the corruption, whether he can raise an Army that ultimately can take over from us and that doesn’t lose troops as fast as we train them," one of Obama`s senior aides was quoted as saying.