The April 5 election to succeed Karzai, who has ruled since Taliban hardliners were ousted in 2001, is seen as the key test whether 12 years of massive international military and aid intervention has been worthwhile.
    
"My desire is that we should have a limited number of candidates as this is good for the country. If we have two presidential candidates, it would be better, but if we had four that is also not a problem," Karzai said.
        
After serving two terms, Karzai must stand down next year for an election that will be the first ever democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan. However, there is widespread uncertainty over who and how many people will contest for the post.
    
More than 40 candidates stood in the chaotic 2009 election, which was marred by massive fraud and delays until Karzai emerged triumphant.
    
Karzai named controversial former warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, 2009 runner-up Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani as possible candidates.

(Agencies)

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