Afghan opposition candidate making U.S. media rounds

Abdullah Abdullah, the candidate facing Afghan president Hamid Karzai in a runoff election in November, said that he will remain in opposition instead of joining Karzai’s government if the incumbent wins another term.

“My trust in becoming a candidate was not to be part of the same government, part of the same deteriorating situation," Abdullah said in an interview for CNN’s Sunday “State of the Union.” CNN posted his comments in an online article.

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The Obama administration as well as key lawmakers hope that the runoff would produce a legitimate government after a massive rigging of ballots discredited the first-round vote in August. The Obama administration is currently weighing its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and considering whether to send more U.S. combat troops to Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama is expected to reach a decision in the next several weeks. But the Afghan presidential election clouded by fraud has prompted questions within the Obama administration over whether to continue committing troops and money to support a government fraught by corruption.

Abdullah, who served as foreign minister in Karzai's government until quitting nearly four years ago, said that the government had interfered in the August vote.

If Karzai wins the Nov. 7 vote "as a result of a transparent and credible process," Abdullah said, "I will be in the opposition pursuing the agenda for change."

Abdullah is represented in Washington by BlackBear Communications. The group was hired to get Abdullah media exposure in the United States during the first round of the election, according to documents filed with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). It is yet unclear what role BlackBear will play in the runoff but the FARA registration is still active.


Abdullah is also appearing on "Fox News Sunday."