The August 20 presidential elections in Afghanistan are not only crucial for the people of the country, but also for the United States and global security, the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said. "Fifty-five days from today there will be an election in Afghanistan which will have a direct bearing on the future of American and international policy in Afghanistan," he told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday. If by any chance the polls do not appear to be free and fair, as is happening in neighbouring Iran, it would undermine the legitimacy of the US efforts in Afghanistan, Holbrooke said, arguing the case of ensuring that Afghan presidential elections be free and fair. "It must be a fair, open and legitimate election. If it is not, if it, for example, looks like something resembling what's happening next door to the west -- it would undermine the legitimacy of our effort and the legitimacy of whichever candidate won," Mr. Holbrooke said. "To underscore the most important point, we can make on Afghanistan, we are not supporting any candidate. We are not opposing any candidate. But we are actively supporting a fair, free and open process," he said. Over 40 candidates are in fray for the Afghanistan presidential elections, in which Hamid Karzai is seeking reelection. Former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani is considered to be his main challenger.