News / Asia

Karzai's Brother Drops Out of Afghan Presidential Race

Afghan presidential candidate Qayum Karzai (R) shakes hand with fellow presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul during a news conference in Kabul, March 6, 2014.
Afghan presidential candidate Qayum Karzai (R) shakes hand with fellow presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul during a news conference in Kabul, March 6, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother dropped out of the April 5 presidential race and urged supporters to back former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul in the election. Observers believe the political move is part of President Karzai's strategy to boost his preferred successor.

Qayum Karzai, the elder brother of the incumbent president, told reporters in Kabul he made the decision after consulting elders in 28 of the 34 Afghan provinces. He described his team as "an essential part" of the new alliance.

Karzai requested “all respected religious scholars, tribal elders and Afghan youth to fully back Zalmai Rassoul to ensure that Afghanistan is able to sustain gains it has made over the past 12 years and the country can be guided toward achieving lasting peace, stability and economic development, and a repeat of the bitter experiences of the past can be prevented.”

  • Presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul (2nd L)  shakes hands with Qayum Karzai (C) and their teams in Kabul, March 6, 2014.  Karzai has announced he is withdrawing from the presidential race.
  • Afghan presidential candidate Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf speaks during a campaign rally in Kabul, March 6, 2014.
  • A supporter of Afghan presidential candidate Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf chants slogans during a campaign rally in Kabul, March 6, 2014.
  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah listen to his speech during a campaign rally in Deh Sabz district on the outskirts of Kabul, March, 5, 2014.
  • Bodyguards of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah stand guard as they listen to his speech during a campaign rally in Deh Sabz district on the outskirts of Kabul, March, 5, 2014.

Political maneuvers

Presidential candidate Rassoul, sitting next to Qayum Karzai, welcomed the announcement. He said his “strong team, with the help of friends and support of the people” will emerge the winner in next month’s elections.

Karzai’s exit leaves 10 candidates in the race, including opposition politician Abdullah Abdullah, runner-up of the fraud-riddled 2009 presidential polls, and Ashraf Ghani, who has served as former finance minister under President Karzai’s administration.

The Afghan constitution bars Karzai from running for a third consecutive term and he has vowed not to publicly endorse any candidate to strictly maintain his neutrality in the election. But critics see Thursday’s move as a signal that Zalmai Rassoul is the incumbent president’s “preferred choice.”

Political analysts in Kabul suggest that Karzai appears to be striving for an influential background role after his presidential term ends.

Said Azam, a former election official and commentator in Kabul, said he has tried to "create a kind of atmosphere, a kind of scenario that makes his desired candidate to be the absolute winner and a winner of the election just in the first round."

Voting on April 5 could be followed by a run-off election between the two leading candidates, with a new president finally being chosen in June or July. The election will mark the first democratic transfer of power in the history of the war-ravaged nation.

Security agreement with US pending

Observers say that President Karzai’s refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States to extend the American military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2014 could be part of his election strategy to win public support for his favored candidate.

Analyst Azam said all prominent presidential candidates, including Rassoul, supported signing the security deal with the U.S.

“I think the main reason is the election. I think once President Karzai sees that the outcome of the election is in his own favor and that his desired candidate will be his successor, even after the election he will still be the president he will sign it [BSA],”said Azam.

The standoff over the security agreement has strained bilateral ties while President Karzai has also launched regular verbal assaults on the U.S.-led coalition’s counterterrorism activities in Afghanistan and civilian casualties in these operations.

Thursday’s killing of five Afghan soldiers in a NATO air strike is likely to fuel that criticism. A presidential spokesman said Karzai has ordered an investigation into the incident that took place in eastern Logar province.

Coalition forces say they are conducting their own probe to determine the circumstance that led to the “unfortunate incident.”

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa 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.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs