The Afghan presidential election commission reports candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has taken the lead in early election results.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He’s Been Accused of Election Fraud
Ashraf Ghani with more than 56% of votes is the winner of preliminary result of Afghanistan election run off
— Khalil Noori (@KhalilNoori) July 7, 2014
According to The Guardian, Ghani has been accused of election fraud by his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, after Abdullah’s team allegedly found an audio recording of Ghani speaking with a chief election officer about stealing the election. The conversation was conducted in a crude code, referring to containers of votes as “stuffed sheep.”
2. He Worked at the World Bank and the UN
Ghani worked at the World Bank from 1991 until December 2001. Ghani served as a Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General where he helped create doctrine to re-establish secure governments in Afghanistan. He also prepared a $28 billion reconstruction plan for Afghanistan. While at the World Bank, Ghani worked on projects in East and South Asia.
3. He Has 2 Degrees from Columbia University & Used to Teach at Cal-Berkely
Ghani attended the American University in Beirut and graduated in 1973. After finishing his first degree, Ghani returned to Afghanistan to teach at Kabul University but left shortly after to complete his master’s degree in the United States at Columbia University. He also earned his PhD at Columbia University and later taught at the University of California, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. He worked as chancellor of Kabul University from 2004 to 2008.
4. He Worked as a Media Correspondent After 9/11
Ghani, featured in an interview with Bloomberg above, took unpaid leave from the World Bank following 9/11 to appear on international news programs including PBS’s NewsHour and programs on the BBC and CNN. He published a book in 2009 called “Fixing Failed States,” which discusses the difficulties in rebuilding governments in struggling territories like Afghanistan, Nepal and Kosovo.
5. He’s an Ethnic Pashtun
Ghani is an ethnic Pashtun, meaning he is a member of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group. According to the New York Times, Ghani has promised the release of more prisoner’s in America’s prison in Afghanistan, saying, “We will not allow prisoners to be used as a business commodity.” Ghani was seen as a, “pro-Western intellectual” but has appealed to a sense of Afghan pride in his campaign.
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