Afghanistan: New era
The post-Karzai era dawns on Afghanistan after decades of turmoil. Today there is a chance that the country will get back to the stability it enjoyed before the United States of America used it as a project to find the soft under-belly of the crocodile and destabilize the Soviet Union, using the Mujaheddin (which morphed into the Talebaan).
Despite threats from the Talebaan, the voter turnout in Saturday's Presidential election was over fifty per cent - some seven million in an electorate of 12 million, translated into three million more voters than in the last Presidential election in 2009 when Hamid Karzai was voted into his second (and last) term as President.
The front runners
Abdullah Abdullah, former Foreign Affairs Minister, leader of the National Coalition of Afghanistan, a coalition of dozens of political parties with some heavyweight figures supporting him: Ahmad Wali Massoud (younger brother of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir), Noorolhagh Oloumi (a senior politician in the Communist Government), Homayoon Shah-asefi (monarchist, with connections to the Afghan royal family), Yunus Qanooni (former President of the Afghan Parliament).
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Chancellor of Kabul University, formerly held posts at the UNO and World Bank, then served as Finance Minister under Hamid Karzai. He was said to be the best Finance Minister in Asia in 2003 (Emerging Markets).
Ustad Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Islamic Dawa Party. Former leader of the Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan, with ties to bin Laden and Arab mercenaries.
Photo: Abdullah Abdullah