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Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac

Afghan Fury at Planned Pakistan Pact
What Happens When the U.S. Leaves Afghanistan?
Trying to leave Afghanistan proves to be as troublesome as being there: A Closer Look
Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”
Zero Dark Thirty Review-Analysis; Eleven Instances of Disinformation
Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?
 
 
 
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
AFGHAN WARRIOR: THE LIFE & DEATH OF ABDUL HAQ
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
KABUL’S HORIZONS
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
Win hearts and minds in Afghanistan to win the war
Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
How the US Funds the Taliban
Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
Cabinet of Warlords
Afghanistan and the lessons of history
Clinton says Karzai ‘must do better’
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan
After Afghanistan election, governors seek distance from 'illegal' Karzai
Karzai was hellbent on victory. Afghans will pay the price
Matthew Hoh: Please refute what I'm saying, we are stuck in the Afghan civil war
As US looks for exit in Afghanistan, China digs in
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistani
The Afghan '80s are back
Pashtun peace prophet goes global
Afghan Road Builder's Dream Thwarted by Violence
A white elephant in Kabul
The Afghan Runoff: Will It Be a No-Show Election?

Ashraf Ghani- Afghanistan's Disputed Election Complicates U.S. Strategy

On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja

Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times


Afghanistan Cross Road CNN


The last frontier


Bruce Richardson
 

Articles

CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team
What the CIA’s cash has bought for Afghanistan

Khalilzad: A Satan Whispering in the Hearts of Men
The Afghan trust deficitt
Will We Learn Anything from Afghanistan? Part 1
Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
William R. Polk
General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence
Afghans want Taliban peace talks
Bombing Weddings in Afghanistan: It Couldn't Happen Here, It Does Happen There
Hekmatyar's never-ending Afghan war
Covert American Aid to the Afghan Resistance; A Top-Secret U.S. Foreign Policy Plot to Induce and Effect Soviet Military Intervention
Afghan brain drain fears as Karzai urges education reforms

US considers launching joint US-Afghan raids in Pakistan to hunt down militant groups

Real security in Afghanistan depends on people's basic needs being met
Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy
Former Taliban Officials Say U.S. Talks Started
Taliban ready for talks with US, not Karzai government
Emboldened Taliban Try to Sell Softer Image
Leaked NATO Report Shows Pakistan Support For Taliban
Insight: Few options for Afghan, U.S. leaders after Kandahar massacre
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television
NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles
BFP Exclusive: Karzai Clan Attorney Threatens US Journalist, Uses Intimidation Tactics
Afghanistan Chronicles
Arduous path to Afghan 'end-game'
Fear in the classrooms: is the Taliban poisoning Afghanistan's schoolgirls?
A comment on the recent events of student poisoning in Afghanistan
Rape Case, in Public, Cites Abuse by Armed Groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s Peace Talks Hit Brick Wall
THE ANATOMY OF US’S DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN
VOICES OF EMPIRE: FROM CIA’s CULTURAL GREAT GAME TO GLOBAL GREAT GAME TODAY
WHITE PAPER FOR THE PERMANENT PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN
King Karzai
A Federal System of Government is Not Suitable for Afghanistan
CHINA AMO DARYA OIL DEAL
Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins
U.S. Envoy: Kabulbank Was 'Vast Looting Scheme'
Speaking with the enemy: how US commanders fight the Taliban during the day and dine with them at night
Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Musery
How to Win Peace in Afghanistan
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Criticism of Afghan War Is on the Rise in Britain
Troops 'fighting for UK's future'
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Afghans still skeptical about Obama
US Defence Department struggling with public release of report on bombing in Afghanistan
Afghanistan on the Edge
Q+A: Who are the Pakistani Taliban insurgents?
Afghanistan Past & Present
Bombs for Pashtoons and Dollars for Punjab
Help! I'm being outgunned on K Street!
ANGELS CHASING DEMONS: “Jesus Killed Mohammad”!
U.S. tested 2 Afghan scenarios in war game
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama hearing range of views on Afghanistan
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Afghans tricked into U.S. trip, detained
In the Afghan War, Aim for the Middle
Obama pulled two ways in Afghanistan
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Gates: Mistake to set time line for Afghan withdrawal
Afghans question what democracy has done for them
High stakes in Afghan vote recount
Two Perspectives On Resolving The Afghan Postelection Crisis
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistanis
The Afghan '80s are back
How to Lose in Afghanistan
US in Afghanistan proposes revamped strategy
US 'needs fresh Afghan strategy'
US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips
Lessons from Vietnam on Afghanistan
Afghan Pres. Skips Country's 1st TV Debate
A proud moment for Afghanistan
Rival to Karzai Gains Strength in Afghan Presidential Election
Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
America and international law
Hamid Karzai pulls out of historic TV debate just hours before broadcast
Karzai says no to first Afghanpresidential debate
Afghan election: Can Karzai's rivals close the gap?
Karzai opponents hope to beat him in second round
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
Well-known traffickers set free ahead of election
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Why the Pentagon Axed Its Afghanistan Warlord
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
The Irresistible Illusion
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit
We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
Obama orders probe of killings in Afghanistan
Obama admin: No grounds to probe Afghan war crimes
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
The Irresistible Illusion
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit

We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Stakes High in Afghanistan Ahead of August Elections
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
Outside View: Four revolutions
Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas
 

 

 

 

 

Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again


 

Sabawoo News Of the Day
Hamid Karzai pulls out of historic TV debate just hours before broadcast
• President's team claims network is biased
• Campaign falls back on deals with tribal leaders

Source: The Guardian - Jon Boone Kabul
In a country where politics is dominated by tribal chiefs, village mullahs and unsavoury warlords, the people of Afghanistan will tomorrow be treated to a unique exercise in modern democracy.

Millions of Afghans are expected to tune their televisions and radios in to the country's first televised debate between the leading contenders in next month's presidential election.

The organisers had hoped the debate, modelled on the set pieces of US presidential politics, would see the incumbent, Hamid Karzai, square off against his two main rivals – his former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani, and his former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah. But Karzai, who has been waging a traditional campaign focused on winning over ethnic and tribal powerbrokers through backroom deals, has decided not to risk a Nixon moment.

After days of uncertainty, Karzai's campaign announced that he was pulling out 24 hours before the debate was due to begin, claiming that his policies were not ready. The president, whose popularity has taken a battering during eight years leading Afghanistan, will now watch his two closest rivals soak up two hours of prime-time television.

The show's producers, who have held endless negotiations with the three campaigns about the format of the debate and topics for discussion, have vowed that his empty podium will be left on the set – a move which has infuriated Karzai's aides.

A spokesman for Karzai said that the president could take part in a debate only if it was broadcast on all of Afghanistan's television channels, and said Tolo TV, the hugely popular network, was biased against the incumbent.

Ghani, a western-trained technocrat who was once mooted as a secretary general of the UN, said todayit was "yet another broken promise" by the president. "For the first time in our history we have the opportunity to come together virtually to see what our potential leaders have to offer. But he doesn't want to debate because he does not have a record to explain," he said.

As with any election the incumbent has the most to lose from a debate in which his enemies can attack his record.

Tolo, an independent-minded channel in Kabul that broadcasts in Persian, is determined to attract as many viewers as possible, simultaneously broadcasting the debate on its Pashtun sister station as well as on its nationwide radio station.

The mediator, Mujahid Kakar, is well-prepared for the debate after being the only Afghan journalist to have covered last year's elections in the US. "Being in Chicago when Obama was declared winner was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I covered all the debates so I know how important these events can be," he said.

But with Afghanistan's experiment with direct, democratic, elections being just five years old, no one knows whether the debate will have an impact similar to that seen by the US contests.

Sceptics say that the country has not yet shaken off the influence of ethnic and tribal power brokers over a largely illiterate and traditional population. But Jahid Mohseni, one of the owners of Tolo TV, believes the boom in independent media in Afghanistan in recent years has helped to level the playing field and introduce a more modern form of politics.

He said: "Tribal and ethnic considerations are much less important than they were, particularly in the cities. And debates like this help to force leaders to talk about the policies we will all have to live with for the next five years."

Ghani, meanwhile, hopes to appeal to independently minded voters and has been waging a "very 21st century campaign", in the words of one western diplomat. His side boasts an Obama-esque website and often emails several press releases in a day.

Ghani has called in favours from top political operators within the Democratic establishment in the US. These include James Carville, the strategist who masterminded Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign.

Karzai, however, appears to betting heavily that it is business as normal and has so far not bothered to publish a manifesto nor hold more than one big public rally.

"He still doesn't think that he is a candidate!" said Abdullah, an eye specialist who rose to prominence during the 1980s and 1990s when he served as an adviser to the resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud in his battles against the Russians and the Taliban. "After turning down a golden opportunity like this to talk to the nation I don't think he can expect the people to listen to anything he has to say."

The president has held meetings with tribal chiefs and leaders of the main ethnic groups, trying to win over their support with the promise of jobs or assistance when he is elected.

Karzai has been happy to court even the most unsavoury of Afghanistan's power brokers, including Marshal Fahim, a former warlord, whom he selected as his vice-presidential running mate. The president is widely reported to have offered them cabinet posts, governorships and even the creation of new provinces in return for their support. It has also emerged that he has pardoned five heroin smugglers, one of whom is related to the head of Karzai's election campaign, although he denies the election has had anything to do with that decision.

Western diplomats are concerned that deals made for electoral purposes will derail efforts to curb corruption and improve government effectiveness – tasks that are seen as essential for draining popular support for Taliban insurgents.

Nonetheless, the flurry of deal making won Karzai the support of most of the country's power brokers months before official campaigning began, which led many observers to assume he had the election sewn up.

Some believe, though, that Karzai has over-reached himself.

"Karzai is counting on warlords, but I think he has misjudged the number of votes," said a western expert with years of experience in Afghanistan. "People don't look at the jihad era and see Dostum [an Uzbek strongman, accused of war crimes] and Fahim as heroes – they are pretty much loathed by the population. One of the reasons the Taliban are coming back is because of warlordism."

Ghani believes the president's aura of invincibility burst when the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, held meetings with the leading opposition candidates. This was seen by many Afghans as a sign the Americans were distancing themselves from Karzai. Karzai's office denounced the meetings as "direct interference" by the US in Afghan politics.

"And he is having problems in the south and east where they are really angry with the president," Ghani said of the insurgency-wracked Pashtun areas of Afghanistan which should be Karzai's heartland.

Others blame a lacklustre election campaign. "Karzai's campaign resembles the way he runs the government," said a leading Afghan businessman. "People are trying to steal money left, right and centre. Even his posters were of the substandard quality and the glue used comes off in a few nanoseconds."

It is Abdullah who is regarded as the main threat to Karzai's re-election chances, after winning the backing of Ustad Atta Mohammad Noor, the powerful governor of Balkh, a northern province seen as a beacon of prosperity and security.

One UN official said Karzai would be in grave danger if he failed to win more than 50% of the votes, forcing a run-off. "It is increasingly likely that it could go to a second round. If that happens then Abdullah and Ghani have an opportunity to take him out. If they get agreement among themselves they have the potential to unseat him."


Karzai says no to first Afghanpresidential debate

Source: AP
KABUL:- President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday he will not take part in Afghanistan's first major televised presidential debate, leaving his top two challengers to talk among themselves.

A debate was scheduled to take place Thursday on the most-watched TV network between Karzai, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

But after Karzai pulled out with barely 24 hours to go, an aide to Abdullah said the former foreign minister might not participate either.

Ghani, a former top World Bank official, has repeatedly needled Karzai to debate him. Karzai has pledged to take part in debates.

"It is the Afghan public that will suffer another broken promise, not any presidential candidate, if the future plans of each candidate is not made clear standing side-by-side his/her rival," Ghani said on his Web site this week.

Karzai's campaign said the president wouldn't take part because more of the country's 41 presidential candidates weren't invited. The campaign also said it had received an official invitation only one day before the debate.

Jahid Mohseni, the chief executive of Moby Group, which owns Tolo TV, said the station hoped to hold a series of three debates, and that Karzai was welcome to join the remaining two.

Mohseni said negotiations over Thursday's debate began more than three weeks ago. He noted that Thursday is exactly four weeks before the Aug. 20 election, and there hadn't yet been any debates.

"Afghanistan's obviously a new democracy and we've got a lot of limitations in terms of communication and road structure," Mohseni said. "We saw a TV debate as useful because it crosses barriers in terms of literacy, and candidates can talk to voters in their own homes."

Without Karzai present, Abdullah was also considering pulling out of the debate, said aide Ali Farhad Howaida. But Ghani still planned to take part, said Ajmal Habidy, a Ghani aide.

"If President Karzai is not participating in the debates, it shows his weakness," Habidy said.

Though Karzai's popularity has slipped in recent years, none of his challengers is expected to be able to defeat him unless they combine their campaigns and back a single candidate.

 

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