March 1st, 2009
10:11 AM ET
11 years ago

Mullen questions Karzai’s authority to move elections

 Mullen appeared on CNN's State of The Union Sunday.

Mullen appeared on CNN's State of The Union Sunday.

(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.

Related: Karzai's date change courts controversy

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.

Filed under: Afghanistan • State of the Union
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Derek

    The Ann Coulter story got 500 something comments... I guess I felt like this one needed some love. So... elections are good.

    March 1, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    What business is it of ours when Afghanistan has elections? This is another example of the kind of arrogance that makes us so thoroughly disliked.

    March 1, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Fan of Common Sense

    This sounds like something Obama and the democrats will want to do in 2010 and 2012 after the economy tanks completely. I wouldn't put it past them to try.

    March 1, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Maggie

    Let them do things their way and we do the same and tend to our own busines, we surely have enough to keep us busy.

    March 1, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. pull the boys out

    get them home, two wars has caused lots of needless death

    March 1, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Susan, Albany, NY

    so now USA will meddle in the internal matters of Afghanistan also?!

    Elections are internal matter of Afghan govt. Don't intervene so much that you loose whatver support you have.

    March 1, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Karzaie is as exlerienced as Borack Obama... Just another dreamer.

    March 1, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. thomas

    We all know that leaders of sovereign nations don't follow the rules. That is the gamble you take anytime that you restore control to a conquered nation. The dye has been cast and Iraq is now responsible for their own destinity. War should not be tolerated anywhere in the world, but until the rest of the world decides that war must be ended, lives, property and resources will continue to be wasted needlessly. Once the world unites against armed conflict, it will cease to exist.

    March 1, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Griff............... on The Truth...

    "Just take a look at the Map." Afganistan is a Bulls-eye.
    They have the Whole-Dart-board on their side. The West has no chance...

    March 1, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. max

    So this administration thinks that the constitution of a country should be ignored in favor of an international commission...

    March 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    There wouldn't be a counter-insurgency left in Afghanistan if we had had 150,000 US troops there instead of Iraq for the past 7 years. It is so sad how the US has hurt itself. Please stop the madness. Please pull troops out of Iraq and put some into Afghanistan to help suppress the insurgency.

    March 1, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |