Calling the eight year war in Afghanistan "adrift," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel explained on Sunday that the Obama administration considers sending more troops now to be "reckless" without a "credible" election result and a regime ready to begin securing the country.


"The process [of establishing a credible government] will be determined by the Afghan people," Emanuel said during an interview with CNN's John King. "The result for us and for the president is whether there is a credible government and a legitimate process that the Afghan people can think, 'This has worked its process through.'"

"The issue of developing an effective Afghan central government has dogged the U.S. mission virtually from the war's start after the attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. It gained new urgency after an Aug. 20 presidential election marred by charges of ballot-stuffing and voter coercion," the Associated Press noted. "An election fraud investigation could lead to a runoff election between President Hamid Karzai and his top challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah."

Amid thousands of credible reports on Afghan election fraud, President Hamid Karzai's electoral commission is trying to block the United Nations' Election Complaints Commission from tossing enough ballots for Karzai to cause a runoff vote.

The UN commission's investigation findings "are expected to reduce Karzai's preliminary result of 55% to less than half of the votes," The Guardian reported.

A former U.N. official assigned to the investigation said last week that his ex-boss should resign or be fired for helping cover up evidence of fraud which mostly benefited Karzai.

"[The] United Nations could have done something to prevent the fraud before it took place," Peter Galbraith said during an interview with CBS anchor Katie Courric. "I tried to do that. But my boss, Kai Eide, stopped me."

"[Karzai] is continually trying to deflect the blame for the fraud that was committed on his behalf by suggesting that this is just bad news story, that it's a foreign propaganda," Galbraith continued. "When I tried to intervene to preserve the integrity of the electoral process, he complained that I was engaged in foreign interference.

"This, incidentally, in an election that the international community -- and above all, the Americans, had paid $300 million to conduct and in a country where 100,000 troops are fighting on behalf of the Afghan government. So, that this has been a continuing theme on his part. And it should not be taken at all seriously. In fact one should speak firmly to him and say, 'This is unacceptable.'"

Emanuel told King on Sunday there are "two roads" forward for the Afghan leadership.

"One is another runoff election between the two top candidates," he said. "Or, a negotiation between those candidates. But, the end result must be a legitimate and credible government to the Afghan people. That's what's important. It's the Afghans making a decision about what type of government they're going to have and what road they take to that point."

While the news of President Obama's hesitation to commit more troops to the Afghan war may hearten some peace activists, Emanuel said the White House will continue to review the situation, leaving open the door to a greater commitment in the future.

"When you go through all the analysis, it's clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that's adrift," he said. "We're beginning from scratch. From the starting point, after eight years. There's not a security force, an army, the type of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner.

"So, that is the question, and what I think, it would be irresponsible. And it's clear that -- I saw the clip earlier -- Senator Kerry, who is now in Kabul, in Afghanistan, noted that it would be reckless to make a decision regarding U.S. troop level if in fact you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether in fact there is an Afghan partner ready to fill that space, that the U.S. troops would create, and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country."

Senator John Kerry (D-MA), speaking to King earlier in the program, said it would be "entirely irresponsible" for President Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan "when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working with."

This video was broadcast by CNN's State of the Union on Oct. 18, 2009.

This video was broadcast by CNN's State of the Union on Oct. 18, 2009.