It is being hailed as a diplomatic triumph that Hamid Karzai has agreed to a run-off in Afghanistan’s presidential election. (Who is getting the credit for Karzai relenting is, as Daniel notes
, fascinating). But as Dexter Filkins points out in The New York Times, the second round of the Afghan election could be as marred by fraud
as the first one. It is hardly reassuring that the chairman of the supposedly independent election commission is already saying that “Karzai is going to win.”
The question is how much Karzai is prepared to rein the levels of fraud in to try and maintain Western support.
It has long been suggested that the solution to the legitimacy problem of the Afghan government is a post-election government of national unity. But the comments of his opponent Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on CNN today are hardly hopeful for this scenario.