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The prospects of political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah

Feature: The Prospects of a Political Agreement Between Ghani and Abdullah

The transition of political power in Afghanistan has always been accompanied by violence or crisis. The transfer of power in the twentieth century was marked by coups, wars, and endless violence, which became a political tradition. After the formation of the new political order in Afghanistan, however, participatory political culture has been defined and the process of transferring political power has been done peacefully and within the framework of the defined laws of the system. But in the last three terms, in 2009, 2014 and 2019, the presidential elections resulted in crisis and taken the system to the brink of collapse. This has generated the crisis of the legitimacy of the democratic political system, which has slowed down the process of political development and stability in the country.
The five years of National Unity Government (NUG) were the period in which Afghanistan experienced the worst in various areas. Political tensions among the political leaders did not recede with the drafting of a unity government. Rather, the differences and rivalries, due to the thirst for political power, have had an impact on administration, security agencies, and various institutions at national and local levels. Instead of strengthening national unity and morale, maintaining national security and securing national interests, the NUG encouraged political divergence, ethnic clashes, and social discrimination, leading to further escalation of ethnic hatred in the country.
Despite the fact that a lot of infrastructure and development initiatives were carried during this period, the security situation and the living conditions of the people became worse than in previous years. The security crisis, a crisis that has been unprecedented over the past decade and a half, multiplied several times during this period. The rise in insecurity and escalation of terrorist attacks in all parts of the country were the result of the NUG’s misguided policies and disagreements among the military leadership. Meanwhile, the crisis of political legitimacy has diminished the international community’s trust in the Afghan political leadership.
The 2019 election and its aftermath led to much dissatisfaction and protests from election groups about election fraud; therefore, they rejected the results, which delayed the counting process for months. After five months of counting and recounting the votes and reaching the electoral complaints, the Independent Election Commission finally declared Ashraf Ghani the winner of the election. At the same time, the opposing teams did not accept the election results, calling them fraudulent, and the team led by Abdullah Abdullah, declared its own government. The 2019 elections, instead of legitimizing the regime, created a crisis of legitimacy for the third time. Thus the political system is on the verge of collapse. The slightest political mistake could change the fate of the Afghan people for the worst. Meanwhile, the authoritarian rhetoric of Ashraf Ghani, and his technocratic approach have narrowed the domain of political power for ethnic leaders and influential Jihadi figures of other ethnic groups. The fact is that ignoring such political leadership in Afghanistan’s politics and power relations is a big mistake and an irreparable political blunder.
The Mujahideen, who were excluded from the political decision-making during Ashraf Ghani’s presidency, are now more seriously and fully united with Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah’s political coercion from behind the podium and challenging the Ghani government, as well as his parallel inauguration ceremony are the result of strong support from the Mujahideen leaders. General Dostum, Mohammad Mohaqiq and Karim Khalili are the political heavyweights that can turn the political equation in favor of Abdullah.
Though Zalmai Khalilzad and Pompeo mediated between Abdullah and Ghani, but to no avail. Now that nearly two months have passed since the two governments were declared in one territory, any political solution to the crisis has not yet been found. People even witnessed the efforts of some political figures such as Abdurab Rasul Sayyaf and Hamid Karzai to find a way out but they saw not result. A few days ago, Abdullah Abdullah spoke about an agreement in principle of a political agreement with Ashraf Ghani. According to the documents and the proposed plan, a High Council of Reconciliation will be formed and Abdullah Abdullah will chair it to advance the intra-Afghan peace talks that includes Taliban. The management of the council would be given to Abdullah’s office – the Sepidar. Also, all the dismissal and appointment of high-ranking government officials would be done with the agreement of the Chief Executive Officer and the President. The distribution of ministries between Arg and Sepidar will be equally distributed, and General Dostum will be introduced as the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and will be awarded the title of Marshall.
The plan is being pushed by Abdullah Abdullah’s team as a general framework for a political agreement to break the crisis caused by the election, which has not yet been answered. There are possibilities that the proposal with certain changes will be accepted by Ghani since the priority of the international partners of Afghanistan, especially the United States, is to finalize the peace process in Afghanistan. The not-so-clear record of the leaders of the National Unity Government has changed the US foreign policy approach to Afghanistan, and President Donald Trump is campaigning to fulfill one of his campaign promises – the end of America’s most costly and longest war in Afghanistan.
Therefore, the Americans intend to form a unity government in the form of 2014 to alleviate the current crisis.
If Ashraf Ghani agrees with Abdullah on the same plan proposed by the Stability and Convergence Team, the scenario of forming another national unity government is on the way. A nightmare that the people of Afghanistan hate to have. Given the international political pressures and alarm bells and the threat posed by the team of stability and convergence, the possibility of a political agreement in the coming days is likely if these conditions continue. Undoubtedly, the repetition of such a scenario is neither a source of joy for the people of Afghanistan nor a place of hope for the future and the process of political development and the strengthening of the democratic institutions in modern Afghanistan.
(Sahar News)

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