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Disputed Afghan vote complicates US mission: Gates

world Updated: Sep 18, 2009 02:48 IST

Disputed elections in Afghanistan have “complicated the picture” for the Obama administration as it reviews US war strategy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.

“It remains to be seen how long it will take to see the outcome of the election,” Gates told a news conference.

“But I would tell you that there is no question that the nature of the election in Afghanistan has complicated the picture.”

Gates cited the election, which has been plagued by allegations of widespread fraud, as another factor that had to be taken into account as President Barack Obama weighs whether to deploy more troops to Afghanistan.

He said the president needed time to examine various assessments of US strategy and should not be rushed over such an important decision.

“We need to take our time and get this right,” he said.

Afghans went to the polls last month to elect a president for only the second time in their history with a Taliban insurgency at its deadliest since the 2001 US-led invasion that toppled the Islamist regime.