Washington, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement in response to the announcement that Afghan President Hamid Karzai would serve another five year term following the withdrawal of challenger Abdullah Abdullah from the presidential election:
“Although the election in Afghanistan was deeply flawed and filled with uncertainty, we now have an outcome and can begin to move forward. The legitimacy and efficacy of the Afghan government are critical for our efforts there as well as for their own future, and it is imperative that President Karzai work quickly to address these points. President Karzai should make a compact, with input from the Afghan people, about improving effective governance and eliminating corruption within the national government. Once the people of Afghanistan have decided what is important to them, the U.S. and international community should both help support those efforts and help hold the Karzai government accountable for his promises.
“I continue to believe that General McChrystal’s counter insurgency plan is the right approach, including his call to build capability at the local level. The recent flawed election process has reinforced the need to also push for the reform of the national Afghan government, to increase legitimacy and help build a capable partner for our efforts in Afghanistan. Pursuing al Qaeda and ensuring that its members can’t use Afghanistan as a safe haven is a vital national security interest for the U.S., and a minimally functioning and legitimate Afghan government is an important part of that effort.”