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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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