John Kerry, the US Senator, has has warned it would be "irresponsible" to send more US troops to Afghanistan at this time, amid a deepening election crisis that has placed the Kabul government's legitimacy at stake. The United States should not proceed with a new Afghanistan strategy committing a potentially major increase in US resources, including tens of thousands more troops, without first securing a clear partner in Kabul, Mr Kerry told CNN in an interview to be aired later today. In an interview from the Afghan capital Kabul, Mr Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said: "It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country, when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working in,with." "When our own commanding general tells us that a critical component of achieving our mission here is, in fact, good governance, and we're living with a government that we know has to change and provide it, how could the president responsibly say, 'Oh, they asked for more, sure - here they are?'" he said. Mr Kerry's comments came as the first hope emerged that Afghan President Hamid Karzai might be willing to work with his main election rival former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah to resolve the election crisis. A fraud investigation is expected to bring Mr Karzai's vote count below the 50% needed to avoid a second round. The country's Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) had been due to announce on Saturday that Mr Karzais share of the ballots was being cut from 54.6% to about 47% as a result of the inquiry, triggering a second round of voting. But the announcement was delayed amid diplomatic efforts to convince Mr Karzai to abide by the decision. However today French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Mr Karzai and Mr Abdullah had expressed a willingness to 'work together' to resolve the election crisis. Mr Kouchner, in Afghanistan for talks with Mr Karzai and Mr Abdullah, emerged from a meeting with the President and his challenger to tell reporters: "They talked, both of them, about the necessity of working together. Honestly, this is the minimum they could do." Washington is debating a request for 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan from General Stanley McChrystal, the US and Nato commander in the country. Mr Kerry, a Democrat who lost his 2004 bid for the White House to former Republican president George W. Bush, was in Afghanistan ahead of an anticipated announcement on whether a run-off election would be held between Mr Karzai and his main challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Mr Obama is nearing a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, after weeks of deliberations with his top advisers,with public support for the conflict evaporating. Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile is pushing for a more narrow, counter-terrorism approach focused on targeting Al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan and primarily in Pakistan using unmanned drone aircraft and Special Operations Forces. Mr Kerry stressed, as the White House has, that withdrawing from Afghanistan, which Mr Obama has called a "war of necessity" and not a "war of choice," is out of the question for now. "Obviously, if you exhibit weakness or indecision, or if the United States were to suddenly pull out of here, it would be disastrous in terms of the message that it sends. Nobody is talking about that. That's not what's on the table here," he said. Even if Mr Obama approves McChrystal's favored option, most of the reinforcements would not arrive in Afghanistan until next year, Mr Kerry noted. He said he did not see how Mr Obama "can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces, or even the further fulfillment of our mission that's here today, without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government's going to be." He said it was time for Mr Karzai to "step up" and explain how they could be a viable partner in the US and NATO-led mission to rout out Taliban militants and build a stable Afghanistan eight years into the war.