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Elite urge Ghani to halt appointments to let mediation unfold

KABUL: Afghanistan’s political elite have asked president Ghani to halt his political appointments to let an ongoing effort to mediate between him and his rival Abdullah Abdullah unfold.

Prominent politicians including Hamid Karzai, Abdulrab Rasoul Sayyaf, and Mohammad Yunus Qanooni – who have been mediating between the two feuding leaders – in a joint statement on Sunday asked president Ghani to halt appointments of government officials and called on his rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to extend his ‘ultimatum’ for a political settlement to be reached.

“In light of current political status quo, there is an all-out cooperation in reaching an understanding and settlement,” said the statement, “For these efforts yield fruit, we propose Ashraf Ghani to refrain from appointing government officials temporarily and Abdullah Abdullah to extend the stipulated deadline for reaching a political settlement.”

“We hope peace talks start at the earnest and earliest and culminate in lasting peace in our beloved homeland. May Allah grant us unity and affinity and save us from the pandemic of coronavirus,” said the statement.

This is as president Ghani in a scramble to make his cabinet has introduced three of his minister nominees in less than five days. He has also introduced nominee for the National Directorate of Security, a new governor for Herat and new mayor for Kabul. There have been reshuffles in deputy positions in the Independent Directorate of Local Governance.

Even in a recent public address, Ghani proposed the leadership of the Supreme Peace Council to his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah, who has announced a parallel government in opposition to election results which pronounced Ghani as a second-term president.

Dr. Abdullah, whose patience wore thin, had given a deadline for the president to reach a settlement with him. That deadline ended this week. Abdullah’s aides are warning that they will also introduce their cabinet if Ghani doesn’t halt his appointments.

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