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Another Candidate Pulls Out Of Afghan Presidential Vote

Abdul Rahim Wardak at an RFE/RL interview in Kabul in February
A second candidate has withdrawn from Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential election, leaving nine men officially on the ballot to succeed outgoing President Hamid Karzai.

Former Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak gave no reason for his decision to drop out of the race in the March 16 announcement.

Wardak, who was not considered among the top contenders, told reporters he had no plans to throw his support behind another candidate.

Qayyum Karzai, a brother of Karzai, withdrew earlier this month.

The leading contenders are widely believed to include former Foreign Ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rasul, and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

Hamid Karzai, who has led the country since the Taliban was ousted in late 2001, is constitutionally barred from serving a third presidential term.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa