Islamists, Warlords Scramble to Register for Afghan Presidential Vote

International Community Tried to Limit Number of Candidates

A complicated process stalled early registration for Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election, but a flurry of candidates emerged today in the hours before the registration period ended, filling out a considerable roster of warlords, Islamists, and even a couple of politicians.

Abdullah Abdullah was among the first to register. He is a former foreign minister and was the second place finisher in the last election, though the run-off he was supposed to get with President Karzai never happened because of widespread corruption and vote fixing.

Speaking of President Karzai, who is banned from seeking a third term, his elder brother Qayum is also a candidate this time around, as is Karzai’s former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.

Beyond that are an array of warlords of various import, the highest profile of which is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s close ally Qutbuddin Hikmat. Former al-Qaeda ally Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf is also a noteworthy last-minute addition.

Analysts say that the international community had hoped to see a much shorter list, with one “consensus candidate” that would eventually emerge to replace Karzai. That appears not to have succeeded, however, and instead the 2014 vote looks to be as corrupt and violent as the last one.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.