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Presidential elections campaign kicks off

Ghani launches re-election bid amid worsening security; Abdullah accuses Ghani for dual behavior

AT News Report

KABUL: The presidential election campaign kicked off on Sunday, with 18 presidential hopefuls, their running mates, teams and supporters starting to explain their plans and programs to the people.

Incumbent president, Ashraf Ghani, former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and another hopeful, Enayatollah Hafiz officially began their campaigns in Kabul.

But the first day of two-month long campaign was disrupted when an explosion followed by gunfire targeted Ghani’s first running mate Amrullah Saleh’s office in the capital.

A number of people mostly civilians were killed and injured in the attack.

President Ghani began his campaign with the slogan of ‘state making’ in the grand tent of Loya Jirga.

He said in his first speech that he managed to weaken “domination of money, power and oppression”, asking people to let him implement ‘law and justice’ in the country.

Ghani promised to return the justice of the beginning days of Islam, saying he would stop Afghanistan’s dependence to abroad in his five years as president and would provide domestic sources for security forces.

Around 50 per cent of the country’s national budget depends on foreign aids now.

Amrullah Saleh and Mohammad SarwarDanesh are Ghani’s two running mates. Saleh is a Tajik ethnic and Danesh belongs to the ethnic of Hazara and a member of WahdatIslami party.

Another presidential runner started his campaign with the slogan of ‘convergence and stability’ in a grand wedding hall in Kabul. Abdullah in his speech mostly focused on blaming Ghani.

He accused the president of losing “opportunities”, claiming that Ghani’s finance minister has case for corruption in the judiciary.

This is the third time that Abdullah runs for presidency. He had never chance to win the race in 2009 and 2014.

Now, he claims that three major political parties want him to represent them in the elections. He also blamed Ghani for what he called “dual behavior” with the people.

EnayatollahBaborFarahmand and AssadollahSaadati are Abdullah’s teammates. Farahmand belongs to Uzbek ethnicity and is close to General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Saadati, who was previously a member of parliament, is close to the chairman of peace council KarmiKhalili and is a Hazara ethnic.

Anayatollah Hafiz was the third candidate who started his campaign, whit the slogan of ‘servant of nation’.

Unlike Ghani and Abdullah, Hafiz started his campaign with cleaning roads and streets in the west part of the city.

He has Jannat Khan Fahim and Abdul Jamil Shirani as his running mates.

Hafiz has degree in English literature and has worked in different government and non-

government entities.

The elections are slated to be held on September 28. Each candidate is allowed to spend up to five million dollars for their campaigns.

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