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Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, signals to a helicopter crewman shortly before departing Kandahar Airbase on Sunday during a visit to southern Afghanistan.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, signals to a helicopter crewman shortly before departing Kandahar Airbase on Sunday during a visit to southern Afghanistan. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Democrats want stability in Afghanistan before surge

WASHINGTON – Before President Barack Obama commits additional troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. needs assurances that Afghan leaders preside over a stable government that is seen as legitimate in the eyes of its citizens, top Democratic officials said in TV appearances Sunday.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the overriding question facing the Obama administration is whether it has “a credible Afghan partner for this process that can provide the security and the type of services that the Afghan people need.”

The White House has devoted five meetings to its Afghanistan review, with more scheduled over the next two weeks, Emanuel said.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is visiting Afghanistan, endorsed the White House’s approach Sunday, saying it would be premature to pump new troops into Afghanistan without a clear picture of the nation’s overall political condition. Kerry met with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, during a visit that also included a stop in Pakistan.

“I don’t see how President Obama can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces or even the further fulfillment of our mission that’s here today without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government is going to be,” Kerry said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”



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