Abdullah Holds Powerful Cards in Afghan Election Crisis | Radio Free Europe

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Anand Gopal, author of "No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes" and a fellow at the Washington-based New America Foundation, says these networks give Abdullah considerable muscle. "He probably has the most prominent network and he is with Atta [Mohammad Nur], who is the governor of Mazar-e Sharif [eds: Balkh Province], and with various people in the Ministry of Interior and various people in smaller militias in the north," he says.

"Another prominent network that has an ambiguous relationship with him is that of the late vice president, Marshall [Mohammad] Fahim, who also has lots of militias that are part of that network, particularly in northern provinces like Konduz," Gopal adds.

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Anand Gopal is a fellow with the International Security Program at New America.