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Afghan election: Kandahar conundrum

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 01:27

March 31 - Afghanistan's ultra-rich and ultra poor exist cheek-by-jowl in Kandahar, home to the family of President Hamid Karzai. Masako Iijima reports.

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When Afghanistan goes to the polls, eyes will be on Kandahar. It's a city that once played host to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Now, it's home to the ultra rich who've made their fortunes after the fall of the Taliban. Many live on a posh housing estate built by family members of President Hamid Karzai. It's a project that has been dogged by allegations of fraud from the start. But Karzai's brother Mahmood is quick to defend his business. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAHMOOD KARZAI, BROTHER OF AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI AND OWNER OF COMPANY INVOLVED IN BUILDING AINO MENA, SAYING: "Aino Mena has already changed Kandahar. At the time, that, in the peak of Aino Mena there are over 10,000 people working in Aino Mena and we were buying -- we had a purchasing power, buying everything from the shops, supporting the regional shops of the Kandahar." This is another part of Kandahar. Daro Khan built his house himself, no Karzais were around to help him. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) DARO KHAN, A RESIDENT OF KANDAHAR, SAYING: "In the past election I voted in order to receive assistance from the government but I haven't received any assistance and my life has not changed . I still live in that mud house and my life has not changed so I won't vote in the upcoming elections." The incumbent president can't run for a third term. Some analysts say the Karzai family will be hoping their favourite candidate Zalmai Rassoul will win, so no-one will ask questions that may be difficult to answer.

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Afghan election: Kandahar conundrum

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 01:27