Global Politics

Afghanistan's next leader

On this highway in Western Kabul, this man pitched a tent to advertise himself as candidate for president. He's currently a PM but holds meetings with citizens here by the side of the road. He says people regularly complain about corruption. He could be considered the grassroots, Nader-esque candidate. Elections are a new game in Afghanistan and there are no entrenched political parties, but ethnic factors weigh in heavily. The next Afghan President will most likely be an ethnic Pashtun like Karzai, but it might not be Karzai himself. The first man mentioned for replacement of Karzai is another Pashtun, a former Interior Minister, who is currently in Washington DC as an analyst. He won't confirm that he's running though. The votes at this informal poll against reelecting Karzai run about one out of every five. One man mentions the current US Ambassador to Afghanistan, also a Pashtun but for the past 20 years he's been a Republican political operatives. He denied he's planning a presidential bid, but other sources confirm he's exploring the possibility, and this analyst says it may not be as strange as it sounds. Most Afghans see U.S. support as a prerequisite for any candidate, but the link with America might be a liability if the situation doesn't improve says this analyst, and another possible presidential candidate. That analyst has served as Afghanistan's Finance Minister, and is also a Pashtun with a tribal constituency. For many in Afghanistan, all of these politicians seem more international than Afghan and Karzai still has that credibility.

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