The results of the first round of elections in Afghanistan have been released, and the election between eight candidates has come down to two. As the country prepares to choose between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, a reporter from DW English spoke with the Asia Program's Senior Program Associate for South Asia Michael Kugelman for a profile of the two men.
Abdullah ran as a presidential candidate in 2009, when Hamid Karzai was elected. Abdullah is a former foreign minister who appeals to many.
Abdullah's close relationship with the late Northern Alliance's leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, has helped him win a broad support base. "In a country where many people are fed up with the Taliban's violence, Abdullah's Northern Alliance association is very attractive," says Michael Kugelman...adding that this would make the 53-year-old politician more hesitant to pursue peace talks with the insurgents.
His opponent, Ashraf Ghani, an economist, also ran in 2009 where he only recieved 3 percent of the vote.
"Ghani is not as polarizing as Abdullah," says Kugelman, arguing that "while Abdullah is a politician associated with the Northern Alliance, Ghani is essentially a long-time bureaucrat and economist."