KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah are close to resolving a standoff over last year’s disputed presidential election that has launched the country’s politics to pandemonium.
Sources privy to ongoing negotiations between the Afghan leaders allude to the finalization of the talks to end the leadership feud and that an official deal will be brokered soon.
The mechanics of the negotiations are believed to fall in the sphere of government power sharing in ministries, independent institutions, governorships, and embassies. Another source has said the leaders are bargaining over key ministries of foreign affairs and finance, and the attorney general office.
The negotiating teams were very recently said to have agreed upon Abdullah’s plan in principle and talks continue in detail – regarding technicalities of how to share power between the two leaders. A draft deal had been finalised that included proposals that Abdullah lead a high council for peace talks and have a half-share in government appointments.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danish has pledged, in his meetings with UN and EU envoys, that the political rift was inching toward an end and that Abdullah Abdullah had accepted to lead the supreme council for peace talks.
The dispute – which had culminated in both the leaders declaring themselves president back in March – has long sparked fears in the United States and other allies that the split was undermining momentum in peace talks with Taliban insurgents.
Both sides have been under international pressure to end the rift and strike a deal. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Afghanistan in March for a one-day visit to try to broker an arrangement even as most travel was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pompeo had announced a $1 billion reduction in aid and threatened to slash the same amount next year to try to force Abdullah and Ghani to end their feud.