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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora