NEW YORK - Where is Richard Holbrooke, President Barack Obamas special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan? This is the question The New York Times posed while commenting on the Afghan crisis that finally led to president Hamid Karzai accepting a run-off election. Like many, we wonder what happened to ... Holbrooke, who established a bureaucratic fiefdom at the State Department but has been neither seen nor heard from during this critical period, The Times said in an editorial: Mr. Karzai Relents. Before ... Karzai acceded to a run-off election on Tuesday, you could almost hear his arm being twisted. And it took a lot of top-level talent to do it..lot of top-level talent to do it. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, all insisted that Mr Karzai accept an international audit that found that nearly one-third of his first-round votes were stolen - driving his final count to below 50 percent, the editorial said on Wednesday. Even then it took a five-day marathon of negotiations with Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to get Mr Karzai to do what was necessary. And that was the easy part. To ensure that the run-off is fair and credible, its going to take a lot more effort and high-level attention - and even more arm-twisting. And there are less than three weeks before the November 7 vote. A fair election is essential. But if Mr Karzai wins - odds are he will - that wont turn him into the credible leader that the Afghan people deserve and the credible partner that the United States needs if there is any hope of holding off the Taliban. Mr Karzais main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, talks a better game but is untested. The next Afghan government has no hope at all unless it is truly committed to rooting out corruption (Mr Karzai will have to start with his own brother, who, American officials charge, is deeply involved in the drug trade) and delivering basic services and security to its people. Meanwhile, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged the full UN support to ensure that Afghanistans presidential election run-off is as credible as possible. The United Nations will do its utmost for the conduct of the second round of elections scheduled for November 7 in a free, fair, transparent and secure environment, Ban told reporters in New York. The run-off, between and Abdullah, was announced Tuesday, after the UN-backed panel investigating claims of fraud submitted its findings to the countrys top electoral authority. On Monday, the Electoral Complaints Commission, which was tasked with auditing suspicious ballot boxes and other complaints related to the 20 August elections, submitted its findings to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which organized the polls. Based on its findings, the ECC ordered the IEC to invalidate 210 polling stations around the country where the panel found clear and convincing evidence of fraud.