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Former defense minister withdraws from Afghan presidential race, gives no reason

Afghanistan's former defense minister says he is withdrawing his candidacy for president in the upcoming election to be held on April 5.

Rahim Wardak told reporters Sunday that he was not supporting any other candidate nor did he give a reason for pulling out of the race. He was not considered a front runner.

Wardak's withdrawal leaves nine presidential candidates still in the running to replace President Hamid Karzai, who is banned from seeking a third term in office under the country's constitution.

Karzai's elder brother Qayyum Karzai withdrew his name earlier this month. The elder Karzai threw his support behind Zalmai Rassoul, considered one of the leading candidates.