Afghanistan

Abdullah Pulls Out of Runoff

The runoff election planned for Nov. 7 in Afghanistan was thrown into turmoil Sunday when President Hamid Karzai’s challenger said he was pulling out of the vote in an emotional speech. Abdullah stopped short of calling for a boycott of next Saturday's election. Some analysts think that Abdullah is trying to win a last-minute power-sharing deal with Karzai. "We don't want to boycott, but Mr. Karzai has not accepted any conditions, so he left us with no other choice," one member of Abdullah's political team told The Washington Post. "There is no guarantee that a second round would be free and fair. It would only create more problems than it solves." A canceled or marred election could throw the nation into chaos at a time when the Obama administration is deciding whether to send more troops to the area. Hillary Clinton downplayed a possible boycott, saying the elections would still be legitimate even if Karzai were the only candidate. It’s unclear if Karzai will still participate in the runoff, if the race will be postponed until the spring when there’s a viable challenger, or if the vote will be canceled and Karzai declared president.