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Third Candidate Withdraws From Afghan Presidential Race

Sardar Mohammad Nader Naim
KABUL -- A third candidate has quit Afghanistan's April 5 presidential race.

Sardar Mohammad Nader Naim told reporters in Kabul on March 26 that he will throw his support behind former Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasul, who was also present at the press conference.

Naim, 49, is the grandson of former King Zahir Shah.

Altogether, 11 candidates are registered to take part in the election.

President Hamid Karzai's elder brother, Qayum Karzai, withdrew his candidacy on March 6 and also threw his support behind Rasul.

Former Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak became the second candidate to leave the race in mid-March.

Rasul, along with former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, are widely believed to be leading contenders.

The constitution bars Karzai from seeking a third presidential term.