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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.

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The north has seen a rise in attacks over the past year. Partly, this is from Taliban finding new entry points into the region, and partly from increased activity of Hizb-e-Islami forces aligned with the Taliban.

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Rahmani says it's too early to know what, if any, impact unhappiness in the north over the election might have on former mujahideen and Islamist party commanders. These figures – particularly those once aligned with the parties of Hizb-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Islami – form the dry tinder for a northern insurgency to spread.

"The north has the potential for insurgency and, of course, if you do not have supportive elements and correctors in these areas to control the province, then for sure insurgent elements will have a wider ground. So the Obama administration should decide to send more troops to Afghanistan," he says.

Offsetting these concerns, however, is the fact that Abdullah has consistently appealed for nonviolence and come out against popular street demonstrations. He reiterated that message Wednesday, despite word from top supporters yesterday that demonstrations were under consideration.

"I wish for my people to be calm and patient and to live in a peaceful environment. So do not do illegal things," Abdullah said.

Support for a Karzai-Abdullah deal

He went on to deny that there was any sort of deal in the works for some of his supporters to take cabinet positions in the new Karzai government. "We are not going to deal," he said, and as for a position for himself: "I am not interested." The last time he met with Karzai, he said, was over a week ago.

Rahmani says that private conversations around Kabul reveal there are negotiations over handing some key ministries over to Abdullah's supporters. The US should push strongly for this, he argues, by telling Abdullah: "Let's not put Afghanistan in crisis."

Interviews with Karzai supporters around Kabul suggest there is general support for welcoming Abdullah or his people into the new government.

"For the rehabilitation of Afghanistan, we would have nothing against [Abdullah]. If he came to the government, we would be happy," says Kasim Khalil, a retired military general and campaigner for Karzai

Another Karzai voter, Hafiz Tarakhil, said such a union would be good, but so would Abdullah as an opposition figure.

"If we were to continue his opposition that is also good because the government should have an opposite side," says Mr. Tarkahil.