Which Afghan Presidential Candidate Are You?

Election Day in Afghanistan is this Saturday, April 5th. How well do you know the eight candidates who are vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai in the first democratic transition of power in Afghanistan’s history? Maybe you’re experienced in taking quizzes to determine which Star Wars character you are, which famous author you are, or who your celebrity boyfriend or girlfriend might be. Work with me here in a little do-it-yourself quiz. Review the criteria below, choose your best answer, and vote in the poll at the bottom here so we can see the results (and come back as often as you’d like to check the tally).

Which Afghan Presidential Candidate Are You?

If…

  • You lost a rigged election against Karzai in 2009 and were pressured to concede before the runoff could be held.
  • You’re best known as a close associate of the famous General Massoud, who was murdered by Osama bin Laden as a “gift” to the Taliban on September 9, 2001.
  • You got tight with Massoud after earning your reputation as a doctor who treated civilians and resistance fighters injured by the Soviets in the 1980s.
  • You were a key member of Massoud’s government-in-exile during the Taliban’s rule, transitioned to democratic government, and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs until 2006.
  • In Afghan racial politics, you’re generally typecast as a minority Tajik, although your father was a Pashtun senator from Kandahar.
  • You’ve chosen well-known Hazara and Pashtun leaders as your two VP running mates.
  • Your name’s so nice, you use it twice.

Congrats! You’re Abdullah Abdullah

Abdullah Abdullah

Abdullah Abdullah

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If…

  • You’re a respected and influential Islamic scholar and professor.
  • You have degrees in religious studies from Kabul University and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
  • You were the warlord who invited Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan in 1996 (whoops).
  • You later led a Pashtun militia that allied with Massoud’s Northern Alliance to fight the Taliban.
  • You founded Dawat Private University and head Dawat Radio and Television.
  • You’ve stated your support for women’s education and aspirations to become doctors and teachers, but otherwise want to keep women “safe.”
  • You’ve worked hard to enact a law granting amnesty to people accused of war crimes, which is great because you were accused of war crimes.
  • You’re a Pashtun and have chosen a notorious Tajik warlord (also accused of war crimes) as a VP running mate.

Congrats! You’re Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf

Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf

Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf

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If…

  • You earned your PhD in anthropology from Columbia University and served as a World Bank official.
  • You played a significant role in drawing up the 2001 Bonn Agreement that provided a framework for transition to democratic government in Afghanistan.
  • You worked as finance minister and later head of the Security Transition Commission in the Karzai administration.
  • You served for several years as Chancellor of Kabul University.
  • Your big issues are rule of law and helping the rural poor.
  • You criticized Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum as a murderer and war criminal when he campaigned for Pres. Karzai in 2009, but Dostum is now your VP running mate.

Congrats! You’re Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

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If…

  • You’re a former pilot for Ariana Airlines and flew yourself and others out of Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded.
  • You spent years as a pilot based in southern California, but returned to Afghanistan after 2001.
  • You served as Member of Parliament from Ghazni for five years and ran grassroots campaigns that encouraged both women and men to vote and be heard.
  • You host popular news shows and appear frequently in the media.
  • Your wife Zohra was the first and only woman to win the Miss Afghanistan pageant in 1972.
  • You have openly criticized President Karzai and have called for an inquiry into his family’s business dealings.
  • You’re outspoken on corruption and slow progress in the Afghan government.
  • You’re considered a leading analyst of Afghan domestic and foreign policy.

Congrats! You’re Daoud Sultanzoy

Mohammad Daoud Sultanzoy

Daoud Sultanzoy

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If…

  • You were the warlord who worked with U.S. Special Forces to oust the Taliban from Kandahar in 2001.
  • You have a highly controversial human rights record.
  • You are suspected as a drug trafficker.
  • You were governor of Kandahar until removed because of ongoing controversy.
  • You then served as governor of Nangarhar, controlling the largest border crossing with Pakistan.
  • You’re accused of making yourself rich from control of the border crossing.
  • You were featured in Sarah Chayes’s book, The Punishment of Virtue, where she described how you basically fooled the U.S. military into believing you were a reformer and modernizer, all the while stuffing your pockets and terrorizing the competition.

Congrats! You’re Gul Agha Sherzai

Gul Agha Sherzai

Gul Agha Sherzai

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If…

  • You earned degrees in economics from Southern Illinois University and served as a World Bank official for 18 years.
  • You returned to Afghanistan in the ‘80s to support the anti-Soviet resistance and serve in the government-in-exile during the Taliban rule.
  • You assisted in development of the 2001 Bonn Agreement that provided a framework for transition to democratic government in Afghanistan.
  • You served as a Vice President for two and a half years, then later as Senior Advisor to Pres. Karzai, and chaired several policy committees.

Congrats! You’re Hedayat Amin Arsala

Hedayat Amin Arsala

Hedayat Amin Arsala

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If…

  • You spent the 1990s as spokesman for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of extreme Islamist insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami.
  • You’ve recently affirmed your loyalty to Gulbuddin and his organization that has taken responsibility for atrocious attacks on American and Afghan troops, as well as Afghan women and children.
  • You’re pretty much an asshole.

Congrats! You’re Qutbuddin Helal

Qutbuddin Helal

Qutbuddin Helal

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If…

  • You’re related to King Zahir Shah, who was exiled in 1973, and got your political start working for him in Italy.
  • You were once a physician in a Saudi Arabian military hospital.
  • You worked in the Karzai administration as Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Security Advisor.
  • You’re a close associate and favorite of President Hamid Karzai.
  • President Karzai pressured his brother Qayum to drop out of the presidential race (although he was polling among the top three candidates) and campaign for you instead.
  • You’ve been endorsed by Mawj-e-Tahawal (“Wave of Change”), the women’s political movement led by outspoken feminist parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi.
  • You’re the only candidate with a woman as a VP running mate: badass former governor of Bamiyan, Habiba Sorabi.
  • Your other VP running mate is the brother of Gen. Massoud.

Congrats! You’re Zalmai Rassoul

Zalmai Rassoul

Zalmai Rassoul

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Now it’s time to record your choice and see how you measure up with everyone else!

**All photos used here were taken from the interwebs and are clearly not mine. Thank you, Google Images.

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