Ghani enters Afghan presidential race


Former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani on Monday launched his bid to become the country’s next president, kick-starting the 2014 election race as the first big name to throw his hat into the ring. Ghani, who is also a former World Bank academic, confirmed he would run in the April poll to succeed Hamid Karzai as the NATO-led military coalition withdraws and officials seek a peace deal with Taliban militants.

Ghani finished a distant fourth in the 2009 presidential election, collecting less than 3 percent of the vote. Abdullah Abdullah, the 2009 runner-up, is expected to announce his candidacy this week.