WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama Administration appears to be exercising caution in making any public comment on Afghan presidential election process after the withdrawal of presidential challenger Dr Abdullah Abdullah , thus making Hamid Karzai's reelection almost certain.

Although Karzai continuing for another five years now is almost a reality, both the White House and the Secretary of State appeared to be very sensitive that their statements could draw reaction in Afghanistan. As such they maintained that it is for the people and Government of Afghanistan to decide on the next course of action and the legitimacy of the government.

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, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said in a statement.

Recognize the decision by Dr. Abdullah not to participate in the November 7 run-off, Clinton said: He ran a dignified and constructive campaign that drew the support of Afghan people across the nation.  We hope that he will continue to stay engaged in the national dialogue, and work on behalf of the security and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan.

The White House also echoed the same. It is up to the Afghan people and their authorities to decide how to proceed going forward, said Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Advisor. We are going to work with the leader of the Afghan government and hopefully that's going to improve the state of conditions for the people in Afghanistan, and also help us as we try to bring this war to a close, he said. Meanwhile, lawmakers said the Administration should now prepare to work with Karzai.  I think it is time for us to stop beating up on President Karzai, and start building up President Karzai and his government to be the government we need, because they're not the enemy, Senator Joe Lieberman, told the CBS News in an interview.

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 got 48 percent of the vote, even after the fraudulent votes were eliminated, he said.

I think President Karzai did the right thing by agreeing to the runoff and accepting the decision of the commission.  But I think everyone expected that President Karzai was going to be reelected.  So Dr. Abdullah's exit from this race, I think, really says more about the fact that he knew he wasn't going to win, Republican Congressman Joe Boehner told the CNN in an interview.

At the same time The New York Times, which in the recent past has run a series of anti-Karzai stories, warned that Obama Administration that at the time of war, it would have a very weak partner in Afghanistan.

Obama faces a new complication in Afghanistan, The New York Times published a news analysis. The complication is, 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.


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