The First Draft: Clinton spills the beans?
After being upstaged by her own boss as she announced a new Sudan policy on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a special effort to let the media know she had a secret: after much pressure and delay Afghan President Hamid Karzai would announce on Tuesday how he planned to handle his country’s disputed elections.
Clinton, who already had a briefing with the media in the morning to talk about Sudan, made a brief statement alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Then she walked him out of the room and came back and invited a question about Afghanistan.
It was then that Clinton mentioned that Karzai would be making an announcement on Tuesday, though she said she did not wish to preempt the Afghan leader’s news.
But her comment that she was “encouraged at the direction the situation is moving” suggested she expected the Afghan president to accept a run-off in the Aug. 20 election, which has been marred by allegations of widespread fraud.
Sure enough, on Tuesday in Kabul, Karzai welcomed a second round runoff against former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
The drawn-out voting process has complicated Obama’s deliberations on whether to send thousands more troops to help out in the eight-year-old war.
Photo credit: Reuters/Ahmad Masood (Karzai at news conference in Kabul)