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Editorial: Nodding in agreement

As the political tensions rage in Afghanistan, the international community has also become fed up with the never-ending wrangling among Afghan politico. The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on all Afghan political actors to refrain from taking steps that would escalate tensions and undermine political stability. The jousting for power by the presidential candidates of last year’s controversy-mired election coincides with the reduction in violence pact among the warring parties. A peace accord will follow hard on the heels of the ongoing partial truce, which entered the fifth day on Wednesday with no significant violations – something that will pave the ground for intra-Afghan talks slated to be held in March. Against the backdrop of developments in the peace process, incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, who was declared the victor of last year’s fraud-tainted polls, and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, who didn’t accept the final returns and is hell-bent on forming a parallel government, are engaged in a head-to-head tug of war for cementing their grip on power. The oath-taking ceremony of President Ashraf Ghani was said to take place this weekend. Similarly, soon after the announcement by Ghani’s team, the Stability and Partnership camp, led by Abdullah Abdullah, in response revealed they were preparing for the oath-taking ceremony as well. However, according to law experts, the oath-taking announcement by Ghani goes against the country’s laws and is dubbed by some a hasty decision. Under the law, a president is bound to organize the oath-taking ceremony 30 days after election results, but unfortunately, it seems our impatient and power-thirsty leaders want to fortify positions of power as soon as possible. Amid all this, the US deemed the swearing-in ceremony a matter that could derail the ongoing talks and asked the Afghan government to postpone the presidential inauguration. The Afghan government has accepted the request, for which the US State Department thanked the country. But what does this acting at the behest of US mean for Afghanistan? Although it’s not unreasonable to focus more on taking steps toward a lasting peace, and not on electoral politics, this nodding in agreement to the US wishes remotely heralds at the fact that the Afghan masses are about to witness yet another illegitimate government – just like the National Unity Government – through foreign interference and with utter disregard to the voters’ choice. As the premature presidential inauguration has been delayed, it will allow the Afghan leaders to have adequate time to come to an understanding on these matters while keeping the best interests of the country in mind rather than their personal ones. At this juncture, these recently raised concerns regarding the electoral process should be handled in accordance with constitutional and legal procedures. All responsible political forces must engage in dialogue and unite behind the peace process, which is a priority for all Afghans. The leading figures should be mindful of and no strangers to Afghanistan’s current miseries and take their decisions in line with the country’s circumstances. They should avoid acting in a rush and egocentrically, which is making them increasingly unpopular while also proving to be detrimental for Afghanistan. 

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