Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah face off for Afghanistan presidential election

Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah face off for Afghanistan presidential election
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KABUL - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah joined a field of 17 candidates for July’s presidential election as nominations closed yesterday.

Other prominent contenders for the post include Hanif Atmar, who resigned as national security adviser last year because of differences with Mr Ghani on policy issues, as well as former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Each candidate has two vice presidents also running on their ticket.

The July 20 election is being held three months late because of security concerns and to fix logistical problems faced in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections in October.

After weeks of rapidly shifting alliances among the main political players, Mr Ghani named one of his sternest critics, former spy chief Amrullah Saleh, as his pick for first vice ­president.

Mr Saleh was appointed interior minister last month but resigned on Saturday to be able to register for the election.

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