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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid