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article imageOp-Ed: Two competing Afghan presidents reach a deal

By Ken Hanly     May 18, 2020 in Politics
After months of dispute over the presidential election in Afghanistan, with both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claiming the presidency, the two competitors have agreed to a power-sharing deal last Sunday.
While Ghani had been declared the winner by a narrow margin Abdullah Abdullah contested the results. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tried to mediate a compromise but had failed. No doubt to show its displeasure the US cut one billion from US aid to Afghanistan. Perhaps the agreement will help avoid any further cuts to US aid to Afghanistan.
On Sunday Sedig Sediggi
, Ghani's spokesperson said:"The Political Agreement between President Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah has just been signed."
The deal
Ironically the deal is almost the same as one first proposed by Ghani months ago. Ghani will remain president under the deal, but Abdullah will become vice president. Abdullah will also be in charge of intra-Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. His supporters will also obtain some cabinet positions. In a previous election there was the same disputed results but at that time the US was able to mediate a compromise with the creation of a Chief Executive Officer position for Abdullah while Ghani remained president.
Talks between Afghan government and Taliban should resume
At the end of February the Taliban and US signed a peace agreement. The US has already begun withdrawing troops as part of the agreement. However, as a confidence-building measure the agreement terms included a prisoner swap of 5,000 Taliban imprisoned by the Afghan government in return for 1,000 imprisoned by the Taliban. The Afghan government refused to carry out the swap because it was not part of the agreement. Attempts to resolve the issue through talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have so far failed. Because of this the Taliban resumed attacks on the government claiming that the deal had been broken.
Now that there is a more secure Afghan government future talks could be more successful. A recent article notes:"US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday that a new date for intra-Afghan peace talks was under discussion and he would soon travel to the region and try to encourage a reduction in violence.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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