Related: Profile: Karzai, the man tipped to be Afghan elected president
KABUL, Oct. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Following are brief profiles of the leading
candidates in Afghanistan's first direct presidential election to be held on
Afghan President Hamid
Karzai (C) waves to supporters while arriving at an electoral rally at Kabul
stadium, 06 October 2004. Meanwhile, two people were killed when a bomb exploded
at a rally held by Afghan President Hamid Karzai 's running mate in northern
Afghanistan. (Xinhua/AFP Photo Emmanuel DUNAND)
A Pashtun from southern Kandahar, Karzai is the favorite to winthe poll.
Good at reconciling various ethnic groups and factions, he has generally won
support and trust of the Afghan public and the international community. He was
installed as leader of the interim government after the US-led Afghan war and
now serves as head of the transitional government.
Karzai's former education minister, Qanooni is seen as Karzai'sstrongest
rival. The 47-year-old Tajik is supported by Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim and
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, both fellow Tajiks. Qanooni was a senior
anti-Taliban Northern Alliance leader. He draws substantial support in the
Panjshir valley, a Northern Alliance stronghold north of Kabul.
Abdul Rashid Dostum
General Dostum, 50, is an ethnic Uzbek commander with a stronghold in
northern areas. The former warlord in the country's civil wars could secure
votes from fellow Uzbeks.
Mohaqeq, 49, served as vice president and planning minister in Karzai's
interim government before being sacked. A leader of the Hazara ethnic minority,
he draws wide support from Hazara clansmenof central Afghanistan.
Abdul Latif Pedram
An ethnic Tajik, Pedram fled the Taliban regime in 1997 and took refuge in
France. He is a professor of oriental studies and apoet. The 41-year-old poet
returned home this year to run for president with no power base.
Jalal, the only woman candidate, once challenged Karzai for thetransitional
leadership in 2002. Few expect the 41-year-old Tajik doctor to make serious
challenge in Saturday's poll.
Abdul Satar Sirat
Sirat was widely tipped to become head of the interim government after the
fall of the Taliban in late 2001, but later Karzai was chosen thanks to US
support. He is a former aid to the former king.
Abdul Hafiz Mansoor
Mansoor served as acting minister of information and culture and head of
State TV and Radio immediately after the fall of the Taliban. The 41-year-old
ethnic Tajik accuses Karzai of trying to install elected dictatorship.