Afghan presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah quit an election runoff yesterday after accusing the government of not meeting his demand for a fair vote, leaving doubts over the legitimacy of the next government.

 

A weakened Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai would also be a blow for President Barack Obama as he decides whether to send up to 40,000 more U.S. troops to fight a resurgent Taliban.

 

Karzai’s camp ruled out a coalition with Abdullah, dashing hopes that might have been a way out of the impasse.

 

Daoud Ali Najafi, chief electoral officer of the government-appointed Independent Election Commission, told Reuters Afghanistan’s constitution meant the Nov. 7 runoff must go ahead despite Abdullah’s decision.