Kerry Reacts to Collapse of Afghanistan Runoff He Helped Broker
History just has a way of kicking Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the teeth. There the 2004 Democratic nominee was, in Kabul, two weeks ago, securing President Hamid Karzai’s acquiescence to a runoff election, a very big diplomatic feat. Now challenger Abdullah Abdullah has withdrawn; the runoff is off; Karzai has been declared the winner of another term in office. None of this diminishes from Kerry’s achievement, as he certainly can’t be blamed for Abdullah’s decision, but his crisis management has been overtaken by events.
He just put out this statement:
“This is one of many critical moments for Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai deserves credit for his willingness to engage in the runoff election, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah deserves credit for showing restraint throughout this difficult period. I applaud Dr. Abdullah for urging his supporters to avoid violence, and for refraining from actions which could tear the country apart rather than help bring it together. With the election concluded, it is an opportunity for the government of President Karzai to demonstrate genuine progress in combating corruption, establishing rule of law, and bringing measurable improvement to peoples’ lives.”
“It is my hope that all Afghans — those who supported President Hamid Karzai, those who supported Dr Abdullah, and those who supported other candidates during the election — will now join together to build a better future for their nation. This is a moment when fundamental change is not only possible, but absolutely essential.”
Watch for Kerry to still play an influential role on Afghanistan strategy. His star is undiminished in the Obama administration, as best I can tell.