US lawmakers say time to work with Karzai again
Washington: With Afghan Presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrawing from the run-off, US lawmakers on Monday said it is time to again start working with Hamid Karzai, who in now all set to be re-elected as the country's president for a second term.
The news that Abdullah Abdullah has decided to drop off the November 7 presidential run-off was received in the US capital with a sense of relief that things are now becoming clear and that the war on terrorism inside Afghanistan would not be held up due to domestic politics of the country.
The Obama administration left it to the Afghan authorities to decide on the fate of the Afghan Presidential Election after Abdullah Abdullah announced his decision.
"I think it is time for us to stop beating up on President Karzai, and start building up... his government to be the government we need, because they're not the enemy," Senator Joe Lieberman told the CBS News in an interview.
Lieberman said Karzai had got 48 percent of the vote, even after the fraudulent votes were eliminated.
"Everyone knows the Karzai government can be improved. But, look, Hamid Karzai is going to be the next president of Afghanistan. He's played this according to the constitutional, and the rules of law in Afghanistan," he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it is now a matter for the Afghan authorities to decide on a way ahead that brings this electoral process to a conclusion in line with the Afghan Constitution.
"We will support the next President and the people of Afghanistan, who seek and deserve a better future," Hillary, currently travelling in the Middle East, said in a statement.
She praised Abdullah for running a "dignified and constructive" campaign that drew the support of Afghan people across the nation.
Asked if this would have an impact on the legitimacy of Karzai as the next president, Hillary replied in the negative.
"I do not think that in any way affects the legitimacy and I would just add that when President Karzai accepted the second round without knowing what the consequences and outcome would be, that bestowed legitimacy from that moment forward and Dr Abdullah's decision does not in any way take away from that," Hillary told reporters in response to a question.
The White House too maintained the same view.
"It is up to the Afghan people and their authorities to decide how to proceed going forward," said Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Advisor.
Republican Congressman John Boehner said that everyone was expecting Karzai to be re-elected.
"I think President Karzai did the right thing by agreeing to the run-off and accepting the decision of the commission... But I think everyone expected that President Karzai was going to be re-elected," he told the CNN.
"Dr Abdullah's exit from this race, I think, really says more about the fact that he knew he wasn't going to win," Boehner told the CNN in an interview.