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This weekend, around 7 million Afghan citizens took to the polls under the very real threat of Taliban attacks (and despite terrible weather).


While the candidates cannot declare victory until the official results come out later this month, it seems that one man — Ashraf Ghani — is emerging as a possible winner.

Ghani is such a pain in the notoriously conservative Taliban’s backside that it isn't even funny. How legit are his Western credentials? The man has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, has a Lebanese Christian wife, and was once a World Bank official.


Oh, and he has an amazing TED talk titled "How to Fix Broken States." In it, he speaks about all the things that could help a war-worn country like Afghanistan, and how money and investment have their limitations.

“We have to rethink the notion of capital,” he said in the talk. “The least important form of capital, in this [Afghanistan] project, is financial capital — money. Money is not capital in most of the developing countries. It's just cash. Because it lacks the institutional, organizational, managerial forms to turn it into capital. And what is required is a combination of physical capital, institutional capital, human capital — and security, of course, is critical, but so is information.”

Check the full talk out below to catch a glimpse of the man (and the plan) that might lead Afghanistan in its post-American future:


Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.

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