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Afghanistan's Abdullah calls Karzai confirmation 'illegal'

Abdullah Abdullah also said Wednesday that President Karzai's government could not effectively tackle corruption or fight Afghanistan's insurgency.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / November 4, 2009

Former Afghan Foreign Minister and presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah delivers a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday. Abdullah said that the current government will not be able to rein in corruption and has wasted the resources and lives of its international allies.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP

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Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan's main opposition leader bowed out of the presidential contest peacefully – and even urged supporters not to protest.

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But he's not letting Hamid Karzai retake power that easily.

In a press conference Wednesday, three days since dropping out of the race, Abdullah Abdullah questioned the legitimacy of President Karzai's new government, saying it fell to the people of Afghanistan to decide and declaring the decision to cancel the election runoff "illegal."

Commenting on the death of five British soldiers Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah suggested the controversial elections result would only result in Western countries needing to send more troops.

"Eight years down the road we still need more troops. In the absence of a credible, reliable, and legitimate partner, more soldiers, more resources are the only thing which will be resulted," said Dr. Abdullah.

Election fiasco spurs calls for more US troops

The messy elections have, so far, dampened enthusiasm in Washington over sending more troops, since additional forces are tied to a counterinsurgency strategy that hopes to win back popular support for the government. But with the elections finished, some Afghans are couching the need for more troops in terms of simply stopping the insurgency from spreading, particularly in once-stable northern areas where Abdullah's loss is alienating political leaders.

"The northern area … is the emerging area for insurgency," says Waliullah Rahmani, the executive director of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies. The Americans and the Karzai administration, he says, need to send more forces there and to fix the rift with Abdullah.

"They will not be able to follow a successful strategy in the northern areas of stabilizing the situation there without, for example, the Abdullah bloc."

Abdullah himself said many of the Afghan and international community goals for better governance would be futile given the genesis of this new government.

"A government which in its formation is based on an illegal decision by a body, to hope that the second government would deliver in dealing with the corruption, issues of governance, [improving] security in this country, it sounds like an exaggeration," said Abdullah.

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