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Afghan presidential election and its impacts on peace process

AT News

KABUL: The Independent Election Commission finally announced the final results of last year’s presidential polls after 143 days.

The Tuesday’s announcement introduced incumbent Ashraf Ghani as the winner, which was immediately faced huge reactions and criticism from the loser contenders particularly Abdullah Abdullah who thought he would take Ghani’s seat.

Abdullah on Tuesday and hours after the result was announced, rejected what he called “the dependent election commission’s announcement”. Ghani’s second-time rival in elections enjoys support from powerful individuals like Mohammad Mohaqeq and Abdul Rashid Dostum. He threatened to announce a parallel government.

The announcement comes while peace process is at its critical period and a deal is expected to be finalized by the US and Taliban within one week, according to President Ghani.

Some political parties believe that the announcement would make a big obstacle before peace progress, Jamiat party saying that the announcement would put impact on the peace process.

“It (the announcement) was a coup de tat not only against democracy, but also against peace,” said Noor Rahman Akhlaqi, a member of Jamiat party who includes Abdullah.

Abdullah’s Spokesman Mojib Rahimi, said: “The political developments and differences will undoubtedly affect peace process.”Other politicians call for putting electoral differences aside and ask for the formation of an inclusive delegation for peace negotiations.

“The government doesn’t have a clear and frank stance for peace negotiations and putting end to war,” said Fazl Hadi Wazin, from Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s electoral team.

“Unfortunately, last day’s step was for jeopardizing peace process,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, one of presidential hopefuls who also rejects Ghani’s winning of the election.

Taliban in a statement denounced the result as “symbolic”.

“Announcement of the final result of election ids to sabotage peace,” Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban official said.

But the US President Donald Trump said an opportunity was gained to reach a deal with the Taliban.

He said that Washington was busy in talks with Taliban for a long time, adding “let’s see what will happen”.

“We are negotiating with the Taliban, we have been talking to them for a period of time. Let’s see what will happen. There is a chance to reach a deal. This is a chance.”

Separately, Molly Phee, Deputy US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation believes that Afghan election and its results depend on the people of Afghanistan, but urges peace as a priority.

“It’s up to Afghans to decide on the results of election, but our priority which is the priority of most of Afghans is peace. We believe that we have got close to reduction in violence and if it is successfully implemented will pave the way for the US-Taliban peace deal. We will remain committed to the government and security forces of Afghanistan after the deal is signed,” said Phee.

The US envoy for Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad is in Kabul to talk to Afghan political leaders after his Islamabad visit.

Phee hoped the intra-Afghan talks would not prolong and have notable results.

The government says that peace is a priority to Ghani. “The important part of president’s meetings today with people’s representatives and police chiefs was how to properly use the opportunity for peace,” Sediq Sediqqi, Ghani’s spokesman said.

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