Afghanistan needs a unity government and involvement of regional players
The messy spectacle of the Afghan election has finally wound down, ending on a less than ideal note. With main rival Abdullah Abdullah withdrawing and the run-off election's subsequent cancellation, current president Hamid Karzai has won a second term. His problems, however, may just be beginning. Abdullah's withdrawal has left Karzai in an even shakier position than he was before the decision to have run-off elections. His government's legitimacy is in tatters as there are serious legal concerns about its right to rule.
In such a vitiated environment, US president Barack Obama's job will become that much harder when he takes a call on whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan or not, and if so, how many. To justify it to an increasingly sceptical domestic constituency will be difficult in the extreme. The effort must therefore be to stitch together some semblance of legitimacy for the Karzai administration. And this is likely to involve a fair bit of pressure to compel the Afghan president and his coterie to act, ironically, in their own best interests.