The Man Who Would Be President

Abdullah Abdullah, who's giving President Hamid Karzai a run for his money in Afghanistan's runoff election, is a world apart from the Karakul-wearing incumbent. As tensions have mounted over the disputed election, Abdullah has met political turmoil with cool reserve. Donning sharp, Western-style suits, he has been meeting with supporters, holding local press conferences and granting Western television interviews in which he has dismissed Karzai as an ineffective leader. Here's a look at the man who would be president.

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    The Candidate

    As a presidential candidate, Abdullah has made fighting government corruption an underpinning of his campaign. Most recently, Abdullah expressed concerns that the upcoming runoff will be just as tainted as the August election -- he called Monday for the election commission chief, and hundreds of other commission officials, to be removed before the Nov. 7 vote. Karzai has rejected these demands. Abdullah also told "Fox News Sunday" that he supports a "dramatic increase" in troops, appearing to back Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendation to President Obama to escalate the U.S. presence in the country. 
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    The Doctor

    Abdullah, 49, graduated with a degree in ophthalmology from Kabul University's School of Medicine in 1983. He then worked at an eye hospital in the capital, before traveling to Pakistan to treat Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet occupation.
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    The Fighter

    Abdullah joined the Afghan Freedom Fighters in 1985 and became close with Ahmad Shah Massoud, a leader of the Soviet resistance considered a hero in Afghanistan. Abdullah served as an adviser to Massoud -- who was assassinated in 2001 by suspected Al Qaeda agents. He served in post-Soviet Afghanistan as a spokesman for the Defense Ministry. When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, he worked in the exiled government and later led the Foreign Ministry.
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    The Diplomat

    Following the collapse of the Taliban, Abdullah served as the foreign minister in the transitional government of Afghanistan. He kept that position until he was forced out in 2006 and has since become a critic of the Karzai government.
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    The Sophisticate

    Abdullah is known as a smooth, well-spoken and sophisticated politician who pays close attention to his appearance. He speaks several languages, including English, Arabic and French, as well as local Afghan languages. He is married with four children.
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