Abdul Salam Rocketi was once a commander with the mujahedeen freedom fighters, who distinguished himself with his uncanny ability for firing rocket-propelled grenades. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Ashraf Ghani, pictured in his Kabul home, is among the leading challengers to incumbent President Hamid Karzai. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai addresses supporters at his first election campaign event in Kabul Friday July 24, 2009. He pledged to ensure that Western troops respect Afghan citizens a day after snubbing a TV debate with his rivals. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR