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Warring leaders step up effort to broker deal

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KABUL: As Kabul and the Taliban are edging towards peace negotiations, Afghan leaders who have been at odds over who becomes the president have ratcheted up effort to reconcile and broker a reconciliation and power-sharing deal to end a bickering that is risking falling into nascent peace talks.

President’s advisor Wahid Omar said on Sunday that both the teams of Ghani and Abdullah are trying to reach a deal and end their disagreements and the ensuing political tensions. This is as both the leaders held their separate presidential inaugurations last month with Abdullah introducing his parallel ‘inclusive’ government.

“It is hoped that the government will form an all-inclusive merit-based cabinet so that all Afghan people will see themselves involved in the political stratum,” he said. Vahid Omar highlighted that that will be done in light of the Constitution.

This is as the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Afghan leaders to form an inclusive government as they did form an inclusive peace team.

Ghani and Abdullah had locked horns on their standpoint vis-à-vis the outcome of the 2019 presidential vote which gave lead to Ghani and drew Abdullah’s ire and opposition. He later rejected the results and proclaimed himself the president. He even held his inauguration as the president exactly when Ghani was being sworn in in the presidential palace.

Ever since former president Hamid Karzai and Jihadi leader Abdulrab Rasoul Sayyaf have met with the squabbling leaders to convince them to stop being intransigent, but all attempts have foundered to end the election turmoil which has given birth to two presidents. This political acrimony is ruining the prospects of peace talks with the Taliban.

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