Afghan Presidential Candidates 2014 Who's who in the April 5 election.
A former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah came second in the 2009 presidential election with more than 30 per cent of the vote but withdrew from a head-to-head runoff with the incumbent Hamed Karzai, claiming he lacked confidence that the ballot would be free and fair.
Mohammad Daud Sultanzoi
Mohammad Daud Sultanzoi is a Pashtun from Ghazni province. When Soviet troops entered Afghanistan in 1979, he was working as a pilot for the national carrier Ariana, and diverted his plane to Germany. He settled in California and spent 22 years as a pilot for United Airlines.
Abdul Rahim Wardak
Born in Wardak province and educated in the United States, Abdul Rahim Wardak was part of the mujahedin who fought the Soviets in the 1980s, as part of the National Islamic Front (Mahaz-e Milli-ye Islami) led by Pir Sayed Ahmed Gailani.
An elder brother of the current president, Abdul Qayyum Karzai was born in Kandahar but spent many years as a businessman in the United States.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
Ashraf Ghani is a former anthropology professor and World Bank executive who has done extensive work on rebuilding nation states. Following the defeat of the Taleban in 2001, he served as special advisor to United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and helped draw up the Bonn Agreement that shaped structures for the new Afghan state. He went on to serve as finance minister in the transitional government.
Mohammad Nader Naim
Born in Kabul in 1964, Mohammad Nader Naim belongs to the last royal family. He is a grandson of Mohammad Daud Khan, who ousted his cousin King Zaher Shah in 1973 and became head of state, only to be assassinated himself in 1978.
Running as an independent, Qutbuddin Hilal is the only candidate not to have served in any post-2001 Afghan government. Instead, he comes from Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e Islami, a group that is still fighting alongside the Taleban.
Gul Agha Sherzai
Born to Mohammad Shafiq in Kandahar province in 1954, Sherzai joined his father to become a mujahedin commander fighting against the government in the latter part of President Najibullah’s rule.
Zalmai Rasul is a medical doctor by training who worked for the exiled monarch Zahir Shah and returned to Afghanistan in 2002.
Abdul Rabb Rasul Sayyaf, Ismail Khan, Abdul Wahhab Irfan
Sayyaf is the only candidate who was at the head of one of the old mujahedin factions. In his case it was Ittehad-e Islami, a smallish group that punched above its weight with Saudi financial backing. In the civil war of the early 1990s, Ittehad was one of several armed factions accused of war crimes in battles that shredded Kabul.
Hedayat Amin Arsala
From an influential Kabul family, Hedayat Amin Arsala is a technocrat, a successful economist who became the first Afghan to join the World Bank in 1969 and spent 18 years working there.