Legitimate Afghan government could take months: Gates

WASHINGTON: Pentagon chief Robert Gates says President Barack Obama may not be able to wait until the disputed Afghanistan elections are resolved to decide on a new war strategy.

The defense secretary said Monday that working out claims of fraudulent ballots would be an evolving process.

Gates did not say whether he believes a runoff between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and main challenger Abdullah Abdullah is inevitable.

He told reporters that Obama is near a decision on whether to send tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan as the top U.S. commander there has requested.

Gates’ comments put him at odds with officials who say no decision should be made until the legitimacy of the Afghanistan government is clear.

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