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Interim Afghan President Seeks to Remain Head of State - 2004-10-08

U.S. news media say Afghanistan's interim President Hamid Karzai is favored to win Saturday's election for head of state of the South Asian country.

He says one of his main goals is to revive the economy and ease poverty in Afghanistan.

The international community chose Mr. Karzai to be Afghanistan's interim president at a conference that was held in Bonn, Germany, after the United States attacked the Taleban regime in 2001.

The 46-year-old leader had been in exile in Pakistan when the invasion began. Soon after, he entered Afghanistan with the support of U.S. troops in order to stir revolt among his fellow ethnic Pashtuns.

Mr. Karzai, who is the leader of the powerful Popolzai tribe, initially supported the Taleban regime, but later denounced it as being manipulated by Pakistan.

Some of the 16 candidates in Saturday's balloting have alleged the United States is helping Mr. Karzai win the election - a charge the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad has denied.