Hamid Karzai is yet again the President of Afghanistan, and he didn’t even need to rig the election to do it this time. After two and a half months of confusion and negotiation, Presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the run-off election slated for next weekend. Believing that he would not win, and the odds very much stacked against him, Mr. Abdullah chose to exit the race rather than endorse a process that is seen as a continuation of the fraudulent August election. Karzai initially won that election before allegations of fraud began surfacing. After numerous investigations and ballot-counting it became apparent that Karzai’s victory was aided by widespread fraud and ballot-stuffing.

Now that Karzai is still the Afghani President and his victory has been paved by fraud, it remains to be seen just what the United States can do about it. He has been “our SOB” since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001 and it will be very difficult to decouple from him. Although, decoupling may just be what the U.S. needs to do. One of Karzai’s brothers, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has known ties to the opium trade AND on CIA’s payroll. That’s right — the U.S. CIA has been bankrolling a known drug kingpin. This is just the most recent corruption in the tangled web that is Afghani politics (and intrigue).

This comes as President Obama must make a very important decision on troop levels in the country and figure out an actual strategy for the U.S. military going forward. Do you stay or increase troops and tacitly accept Karzai as president (and all his corrupt cronies), or do you bring the troops home and pray for the best? Neither option is good and will most likely create some type of instability.

Afghanistan has been a quagmire for over 30 years; ask any of the former Soviet leaders from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Afghani fighters are seasoned and willing to go as long as it takes — and that is a very telling message. If the US isn’t willing to go all out and truly reconstruct the country, then staying may simply be a long and drawn out slog. Hopefully Obama makes a plan soon and puts it into motion. It’s time to put up or shut up in Afghanistan. There are only so many things that American troops can do there, protecting a corrupt, ineffective, drug connected government really should not be one of them.

Written by Dan Logue