Your Guide to the Afghan Election

Profiles of the top 4 candidates in a turbulent country
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2009 1:17 PM CDT
Your Guide to the Afghan Election
Presidential candidate and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai gestures to supporters during an election campaign rally in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Torn by war and insurgency, Afghanistan votes for its next president tomorrow, choosing from among 37 candidates. NPR profiles the frontrunners:

  • Hamid Karzai. The incumbent, a member of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, was elected in 2005 amid a swell of international backing. But lately the former activist’s popularity has been weighed down by government corruption and Taliban activity.

  • Abdullah Abdullah. Karzai’s onetime foreign minister was allied with an anti-Taliban “national hero to many,” NPR notes. He would help the families of military casualties and decentralize government.
  • Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Called “too American” by opponents, the former professor would make laws simpler and establish a watchdog network to report on national security.
  • The rest. The 34 other candidates include two women and an ex-Taliban commander. Populist, simple-living MP Ramazan Bashardost has emerged recently as a contender.
(More Hamid Karzai stories.)

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