Former Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has withdrawn from the presidential race, his associate said on Sunday.

“We announce that General Wardak has resigned from the presidential elections. He will not be participating in the race,” his campaign manager Sarwar Ahmadzai told DPA without specifying a reason.

Mr. Ahmadzai did not say if General Wardak would be supporting any other candidates instead.

Afghan presidential elections are slated for April 5, taking place as NATO combat troops withdraw from the country.

General Wardak’s withdrawal leaves nine of the eleven final candidates in the fray.

Earlier this month, Qayum Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, pulled out of the elections to support ex-foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul.

Mr. Rassoul, a former foreign minister and a key ally of President Karzai, has emerged as one of the top three candidates. Incumbent President is not eligible to run for a third term.

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