The elder brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who dropped out this week as a candidate in April 5 presidential elections, has thrown his support behind a former Afghan foreign minister.
In an interview with the Associated Press, businessman Qayyum Karzai said he wants to leave the field open for a candidate who can steer the nation through what he called a "dignified" transition. He said he will support former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul in order to help unify the country.
Both men are ethnic Pashtuns who dominate the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, and they had been expected to split the vote between them.
Hamid Karzai has served two five-year terms and is barred by law from running again for president. He has declined to sign an agreement with the United States on allowing American troops to remain in Afghanistan past a deadline at the end of this year.
U.S. officials have said if Karzai does not agree soon to the long-delayed deal, all U.S. troops will be pulled out of the country in December.
Some information for this report comes from AP.