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Mar-21-2013 13:00printcomments

Karzai's Ex-Chief of Staff Omar Dawoodzai to Run for President

The report was also confirmed by Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Omar Dawoodzai
Omar Dawoodzai photo: Afghan Consulate

(KABUL Khaama Press) - Omar Dawoodzai, the current Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and former chief of staff in president Hamid Karzai’s office is the first major political figure to declare his intention to replace the President as Afghanistan’s leader.

Mr. Dawoodzai has said he is preparing to launch his campaign for the presidential elections due next year.

In an interview with The Times in his residence in Islamabad, Omar Dawoodzai he would campaign on a manifesto of maintaining good relations with the West, anti-corruption reforms, eradication of poppy growing and a shift of power away from the group of ageing former warlords who have run the country since 2001.

Mr. Dawoodzai has also served as the Afghan ambassador to Iran and he is viewed as a moderating influence by the West. He is considered to have strong links with Tehran.

In a report published in 2010, Mr. Dawoodzai was named as a recipient of bags of “aid” cash sent the Iranian government to bankroll Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

The report was also confirmed by Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

“We have done good things together in the past 11 or 12 years. There is huge change and we have laid down foundations in many areas and that should continue but with very serious reforms,” Dawoodzai told The Times.

He said, “There would be zero tolerance in two areas – corruption and poppy growing. These two are the source of all evils, including terrorism.”

The upcoming presidential election is due to be organized in April 5, 2014 and all the candidates must declare their interest by September for the poll.

In the meantime Omar Dawoodzai says he is happy to be considered “an option” until then but he has to quit his official post when he formally declares his participation in the election.

“I know what fate is waiting for people who become No 1 in Afghanistan. But I have a national obligation and I’m under pressure from my conscience and like-minded people, and that pressure convinced me that I should agree to become an option for a candidate.” Dawoodzai told The Times.

An Afghan political observer Haroun Mir said, “He is the sort of man who can attract support across ethnic groups. In his 10 years or so in the palace he managed to avoid making enemies or taking extreme positions.”

Omar Dawoodzai was also a former member of the Hezbi Islami party of Afghanistan led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. A Western diplomat expressing doubts about the strenght of Dawoodzai’s grassroots support said NATO countries “wouldn’t be aghast” at his presidency.

Source: Khaama Press



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