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Interview

Ghani-Abdullah Deal Constructive, Accelerates Peace Process: Expert

Thursday 14 May 2020
Ghani-Abdullah Deal Constructive, Accelerates Peace Process: Expert

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Alwaght- After several months of dispute and controversy, Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have agreed to work together for sharing the power, media reports said. 

The agreement comes while since September presidential elections both of the candidates claimed victory and both took the oath as presidents in one day. 

What are the agreement’s terms? How will it influence the country’s future equations? Alwaght has talked to Pir Mohmmad Mullazehi, an Iranian expert on Afghanistan affairs, asking him to answer these questions. 

The deal is in three main levels

Commenting on the details of the deal reached between the two rivals of the Afghan presidential election, Mr Mullazehi said that we can refer to a set of levels in the agreement, though they are not definite and are open to debate. According to the deal, 50 percent of the posts will be assumed by the Ghani team and the other half will be for Abdullah’s team. It fact, the power is distributed equally between the two sides. 

The second aspect of the agreement is the determination of the fate of the provincial posts like the governors and other minor posts. It seems that in the areas where Abdullah has more votes the posts will be assumed by his allies. The same equation is true when it comes to Ghani. They will appoint occupants to these posts. 

In the third aspect, the four key ministries of defense, interior, foreign affairs, and finance will be distributed between the two. Very likely, foreign and finance ministries will be held by Abdullah camp and the other two will be held by Ghani. 

“These three areas of the agreement should be regarded as the key parts of the agreement between the two presidential candidates,” Mr Mullahzehi said. 

The Afghanistan affairs analyst continued that despite these three key areas of agreement, the supporters and relatives of each of the two candidates have their own visions. The supporters of Abdullah believe that the sharing of the power 50/50 is now certain. But those on the Ghani side argue that the deal is not sealed yet and the debate continues. 

“These conflicting views suggest that the differences are not over yet and still exist at high levels. The important point is that the CEO post that since 2014 was held by Ghani is now ditched and it remains to see if Abdullah will preside over the High Peace Council.” 

Mr Mullazehi focused on the role of the presidency over the High Peace Council as he said that now it is not just the agreement of the two candidates that matters. “There is a third player called the Taliban which seeks to take over the government. That is while still no way to settle the crisis and negotiate with the Taliban has been presented by the government.” 

Foreign actors’ role in the deal 

The Iranian analyst said foreign parties had a role in the agreement between the two rivals. He held that the US certainly played a role as Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy to Afghanistan peace, several rounds held talks with both Ghani and Abdullah. 

“To some extent, he managed to get them to agree and distribute power. But it should be taken into account that it is not only the US that played a role. Iran, Pakistan, and others made some efforts to mediate and push towards an accord. We can say that three sides worked in coordination for an agreement. On the international level, the US and international organizations acted positively. Regionally, the neighbors of Afghanistan propelled the agreement. And at home, some parties worked towards the de-escalation of tensions between the two sides.” 

If the deal is finalized, intra-Afghan peace negotiations will pick up the pace 

The Afghanistan affairs expert said in the final part of the interview that he thought that if the deal between the two rivals is finalized, it will serve the stability of the political system. 

“The current political system is democratic in which all democratic principles like the freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of women, and elections are observable. But the challenge is that the Taliban as one of the poles of power still does not recognize this system. If the deal is finalized, the ground will be prepared for intra-Afghan talks and the Taliban will not resist the calls for dialogue with the central government." 

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Afghanistan Deal Taliban Negotiations Ghani Elections

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