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June 23, 2009
With the 60-day election campaign in Afghanistan under way, some of the 41 presidential candidates and their supporters are making good use of YouTube. Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani recently claimed that incumbent President Hamid Karzai has “promised 232 individuals ministerial positions, 949 people governorships, and 1,000 people deputy ministerships" as part of the "auctioning off the government for the sake of winning the election.” His first campaign ad (watch above) on YouTube is sleek, and clearly targeting the Afghan diaspora in the United States. Supporters of another leading candidate, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abduallah, have posted his “message to the nation." (The video is available in English, Pashto, and Dari.) Less sleek and representative of his anticorruption platform is Ramzan Bashardost’s video. (We wrote about him yesterday.)Or you can also watch former Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Salam Rocketi and former communist-era diplomat Habib Mangal.With Internet penetration in Afghanistan still low, the YouTube campaign ads won't bring in many votes. But they will connect the candidates to the Afghanistan's wealthy diaspora -- crucial in the financing of their campaigns.-- Abubakar Siddique
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