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Afghan Presidential Candidates Reject Boycott Call

18 August 2004 -- Several candidates in Afghanistan's presidential election distanced themselves from a group of Hamid Karzai's rivals who called on the Transitional Administration chairman to resign and threatened to boycott the vote.

Abdul Satar Sirat, one of the candidates, said at a press conference earlier today that all 17 presidential candidates would boycott the 9 October vote if Karzai rejected their call to resign.

However, at least four of Karzai's 17 rivals told AFP that they had not agreed to back calls for his resignation.

The four were Homayun Shah Asifi, Masuda Jalal, Abdul Hadi Khalilzai, and Ghulam Faruq Nijrabi.

Jalal told AFP she had attended a meeting of 14 of Karzai's rivals but said she had not been consulted about Sirat's call for a boycott.