(CNN) - Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen suggested Sunday he disagreed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent decree to move up that country's presidential and provincial elections by four months and questioned whether Karzai had the authority to do so.
"The elections were scheduled for August and that was a date that was set by the international elections commission and they are, as I understand it anyway, they are the final authority in this," Mullen told CNN's John King of State of The Union."
The comments come a day after Karzai decreed the elections be moved from the August date determined by the Independent Election Commission to April. Karzai, whose term ends in late May, said the constitution requires an election at least 30 days before the end of the term, but opposition groups are crying foul.
Karzai has said he intends to run for a second term.
But speaking to CNN Sunday, Mullen said the earlier date hampers his efforts to ensure the elections are secure.
"I'm on a time line to get security forces there to provide the kind of security for the elections," he said. "So moving those dates to the left certainly generates a higher level of risk with respect to security for those elections which we want to be free and fair as well as secure."
In addition to security concerns, the election commission has also said the winter weather in April is likely to complicate election efforts.
In the wide ranging interview Sunday, Mullen also said he agreed with Arizona Sen. John McCain's assessment earlier this week that the counter-insurgency is winning in Afghanistan.
“I said last September in my testimony in congress that I didn't think we were winning, although I thought we could. I would also agree that if we're not winning, a counterinsurgency, we are losing," he said.