Carville to Help Run Campaign For Afghan Challenger - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Carville to Help Run Campaign For Afghan Challenger

Ragin' Cajun signs on with Karzai rival

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    Carville to Help Run Campaign For Afghan Challenger
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    Political strategist James Carville has a new client - a challenger in the Afghan presidential election.

    Ragin' Cajun James Carville, who helped get Bill Clinton win two presidential elections, is headed to Afghanistan to quarterback the campaign of a challenger to Hamid Karzai.

    The gunslinger strategist's new client is former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmedzai, likely the most formidable of 41 candidates looking to take Karzai's seat in an Aug. 20 election, according to Bloomberg.

    It isn't the first time Carville has taken his work overseas. Carville has gotten involved in many foreign elections in his career, reportedly working on campaigns in 18 countries, including those of Israeli Labor party leader Ehud Barak and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Despite Carville's past ties with Bill and Hillary Clinton, the veteran campaign brain said he did not discuss his latest gig with Hillary, who is now the Secretary of State.

    Ghani took office as finance minister in 2002. He won public praise for enacting a new currency, revamping budgeting, and furthering rural development through World Bank grants. In an interview with the New York Times this year, Ghani said that he retired from his post in 2004 because Afghanistan had become dominated by drug traffickers.

    Prior to his ventures in politics, Ghani earned his Ph.D in anthropology from Columbia University and worked at World Bank. After spending more than two decades in the U.S., Ghani made his way back to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, working pro bono as an advisor for Kazai's government in 2001.

    But after Kazai's election to presidency in 2004, Ghani declined invitation to join the cabinet, instead returning to Washington to co-found the Institute of State Effectiveness.

    After topplng the Taliban regime, which had sheltered Osama Bin Laden, the U.S. backed Karzai in his presidential bid, guiding him on his way to become the country's first democratically elected leader in 2004. His administration has proved to be less reformist than expected, and now Carville is taking a job to oust the man who was handpicked for the job by the U.S. government.

    As part of his presidential bid, Ghani has also launched an Internet fundraising campaign modeled after the one run by President Obama, including a home site that offers wallpapers, widgets and web banners and labels him as the "most qualified candidate."