May 26. - Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother Qayum Karzai plans to run as an independent candidate in next year’s presidential elections. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's older brother Qayum will run in next year's presidential election, their younger brother said, as the country's most powerful family seeks to maintain a political hold in Afghanistan. From his home in the southern city of Kandahar, Mahmoud admitted the president has not yet officially endorsed his brother's election bid. Karzai is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third term when the country votes for a new head of state on April 5, 2014. But Kandahar residents expressed their support for another Karzai in office. "We are supporting Qayum Karzai and will use all means to stand with him in the election," said one Kandahar resident Afghanistan began its voter registration for the 2014 presidential election on Saturday. Some analysts say the president is likely to support his brother's bid. If Qayum runs without his powerful brother's backing, others contend it could indicate a family rift. The credibility of next year's vote will be vital to the security and stability of the country, with NATO set to withdraw most of its combat troops by the end of 2014.