News / Asia

Afghanistan Moves Closer To Historic Political Transition

Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister, center, joins hands with his supporters after registering his candidacy in next year's presidential election, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.
Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister, center, joins hands with his supporters after registering his candidacy in next year's presidential election, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Election authorities in Afghanistan have wrapped up a three-week process of registering candidates for next April’s crucial presidential vote. By the end of the deadline on Sunday, about 20 political heavyweights, including Islamist warlords, had submitted their candidacies for the country’s top office. 

While the list of registered contenders for the April 5 presidential election has ended weeks of speculation over who is going to seek to replace President Hamid Karzai, the race remains wide open, with no clear front-runner. 

Several prominent Afghan personalities were among the candidates who filed nominations to the Independent Election Commission in Kabul Sunday, just hours before it closed the registration campaign. 

They include former foreign minister Zalmay Rassoul, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who oversaw the transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan security forces, and Qayum Karzai, elder brother of the Afghan president.

Rassoul spoke to reporters after submitting his nomination papers on Sunday.

He said that if elected he, along with his team, will work toward more progress in Afghanistan, protecting historic achievements the country has made over the past decade, delivering good governance and stabilizing the legitimate national economy.

Ghani, also an ethnic Pashtun who came in third in the 2009 presidential election, promised to include losing candidates in his government if he is voted to power.

The former finance minister said this is the first time in national history that political power will be transferred to another elected team, and he predicted his team will be the winner because Afghanistan needs change.

The constitution bars President Karzai from running for a third consecutive term, and he has promised to stay neutral in the upcoming elections. However, there are speculations in the local media that the incumbent Afghan leader is expected to support his former foreign minister, Zalmay Rassoul. 

Other top contenders include former foreign minister Abullah Abdullah, who was the runner-up to President Karzai in the 2009 polls, and lawmaker Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, an influential ethnic Pashtun religious scholar.

The April election is the first independent vote Afghanistan is organizing without direct foreign assistance, and it is taking place during the same year that American-led military coalition will wind up its combat mission in the country. 

In the wake of the stepped up Taliban insurgency, many describe security as the biggest challenge for the Afghan national forces ahead of the election. Others caution against repetition of widespread rigging and fraud that marred the 2009 presidential election. 
 
Addressing the Asia Society in New York as the foreign minister of Afghanistan, Zalmay Rassoul also underlined the importance of fair polls.
 
"This election is extremely important because if this election happened successfully and the result of this election will be accepted by the Afghan people, definitely the democratic process will be rooted in Afghan society and it can continue with achievement that we have made your (international community's) support in democratic process... and if we fail on providing a credible election, that will be disaster for the future of Afghanistan," he said.

The prevailing security concerns, particularly in areas where the Taliban has a strong presence, were once again highlighted by a roadside bomb attack Sunday in southern Afghanistan that killed four international soldiers, all of them reported to be Americans.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More