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Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah reach power-sharing deal

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah have agreed to share presidential powers. The decision ends months of uncertainty that had included dual inauguration ceremonies.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival in the country’s disputed presidential election Abdullah Abdullah reached a power-sharing deal on Sunday that brings an end to months of political stalemate in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

Abdullah is pegged to head up the peace process with the Taliban while Ghani will lead Afghanistan as president.

The agreement was finalized Sunday afternoon, with both parties agreeing on who would oversee a few key ministries, according to Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for Ghani. 

“Doctor Abdullah will lead the National Reconciliation High Commission and members of his team will be included in the cabinet,” he wrote on Twitter.

A spokesperson for Abdullah cited by the German press agency dpa said Abdullah would have a 50% share in the government, covering ministries, independent directorates and provinces. 

It was not immediately clear which ministerial positions Abdullah’s team would take over. However, during the negotiation process, he had pushed for control of a major portfolio such as finance or foreign affairs.

Ghani and Abdullah both claimed victory after last September’s presidential elections. Ghani was declared the official winner but the polls were dogged by successive delays and claims of vote-rigging, said the country’s electoral complaints commission.

In March, both men held parallel presidential inauguration ceremonies inside the grounds of Kabul’s presidential palace. The in-fighting had complicated attempts to reach a peace deal between the Taliban and the US meant to end the 19-year Afghan war.

The in-fighting has also complicated attempts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban to end the 19-year Afghan war. Washington signed an agreement with the group in March, stipulating that the US and its foreign allies would withdraw all forces by early next year. In return, the Taliban pledged not to attack foreign troops, but they have continued to clash with Afghan forces. 

Peace talks with the Taliban were set to begin in March, but US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday that a new date was currently being discussed.

kp/aw (Reuters, AFP)