Abdullah Abdullah dropping out of the Afghan election run off and Hamid Karzai being elected by default has left the Nato-led coalition in a very difficult situation. After the level of fraud in the first round it is hard to claim that Karzai is a legitimate leader. But equally, leaving Afghanistan remains as unplatable an option as ever.
So it is intriguing that at today's White House press briefing, Obama's spokesman played for time when asked if Obama was now pushing for a power-sharing deal between Karzai and Abdullah. He told the journalists present, "Let me get some guidance from our guys in Kabul".
Certainly a power sharing deal would make it easier for Western politicians to make a case to their electorates for the continued deployment of troops to Afghanistan. But so far there is no sign that Abdullah--let alone Karzai--is interested in coming to a deal.