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But if he means decisions on Afghanistan will be postponed until after the final outcome of the Nov. 7, runoff between Hamid Karzai and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah, that’s nearly as bad.

The Taliban won’t wait. Pakistan’s current military offensive against radical Islamists in the mountainous Waziristan tribal region has forced thousands of insurgents to seek refuge closer to the border and in Afghanistan.

Had the Obama administration decided months - or even weeks ago to provide additional troops, mobility assets and resources for Gen. McChrystal, many Taliban fighters might well have decided to call it quits. That’s precisely what precipitated the “Awakening” in Iraq after President George W. Bush ordered a “surge” in late 2006.

The Obama administration has nothing to gain from further delay. The president’s approval rating is now below 30 percent in some nationwide polling. Winter’s hardship and privation are about to visit everyone in the wind-swept shadows of the Hindu Kush - soldier and civilian alike.

The Afghan people, huddled in the cold, are making up their minds - which side offers them the greatest hope for the future. A commitment now will make the contest next spring an easier fight. It’s time for action - not another alibi.

Oliver North is the host of “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel, the author of “American Heroes” and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.