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Afghanistan presidential election: Election campaign to start on Sunday amid Taliban threat

Afghanistan presidential election: Election campaign to start on Sunday amid Taliban threat

KABUL: A two-month presidential election campaign in Afghanistan will kick off on Sunday, with eleven candidates taking part in the elections including former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani‚ Zalmai Rassoul and President Hamid Karzai’s elder brother Qayum Karzai are among other heavyweight candidates.

Karzai, who has ruled the country since the Taliban’s overthrow in 2001, is barred from seeking a third term, leaving an open field to compete in the April 5 presidential election, which is possible to trigger a second-round run-off in May between the two strongest candidates.

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The campaign comes as Taliban militants have threatened to target it, leaving the Afghan police and army with a major challenge of providing security in the country. The Afghan interior ministry hopes to open 6,431 of the 6,845 polling centers, though fear of violence could lead to low turnout.

Meanwhile, the campaign is expected to be dominated by a dispute between Afghan government and the United States over the Bilateral Security Agreement, which will allow the US to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 after NATO withdraws by December.

The Afghan president said that he will not sign the security deal with the US until certain conditions are met including a guarantee from Washington that there will be no more raids on Afghan houses. He also wants Washington to guarantee peace in Afghanistan.

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Asad Haroon
Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human :) Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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