March 6- The Afghan president's older brother, Qayum Karzai, says that he is withdrawing from next month's presidential election and will back former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul. Sarah Toms reports.
To a packed news conference, the Afghan president's older brother Qayum Karzai announces he's withdrawing from next month's presidential election. Instead he'll back former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) BROTHER OF AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, QAYUM KARZAI, SAYING: "I announce today that we are making a united team with Dr Zalmai Rassoul, I believe that the goal I was seeking in the upcoming election will be only implemented if we are a united team. We're announcing this unity to the honourable people of Afghanistan and we think it is in the interest of the nation." Most of the media here expected the pull out after he failed to turn up for a television debate. The polls are due to take place April 5. If they proceed normally, it will be the first time in Afghanistan's history that power has been handed from one democratically elected government to another. But campaigning kicks off amid economic uncertainty and deteriorating security. Taliban insurgents have denounced the vote and U.S.-led forces, who are reducing their presence in Afghanistan this year are threatening to leave completely.