Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah reach ‘tentative deal’

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A bitter feud between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah appeared closer to resolution on Friday after Mr. Abdullah said the two men had moved forward in talks. “We have made progress in negotiations & reached tentative agreement on a range of principles. Work on details is underway to finalize the agreement,” Mr. Abdullah said on Twitter.

One country, two Presidents and an endless war

The dispute has proved a huge distraction for Afghanistan at a terrible time, with the coronavirus crisis worsening daily and the Taliban stepping up attacks despite a deal they signed with the U.S. in February.

“We hope to finalize the political agreement at the earliest so that we can pay undivided attention to tackling coronavirus (COVID-19)pandemic, ensuring a just, dignified & lasting peace, & confronting the security & economic challenges in a spirit of national unity & solidarity,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted. Mr. Ghani’s office did not immediately comment.

Return to chaos in Afghanistan?

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Afghan official said Mr. Abdullah has made a multi-pronged proposal to Mr. Ghani. The offer would see Mr. Abdullah appointed to lead eventual peace talks with the Taliban while also getting a 50-% share of the government including several high-ranking positions for his allies. Mr. Abdullah would also gain the title of “executive Prime Minister”, the official said, stressing that Mr. Ghani has not accepted the proposal.

The sum and substance of the Afghan deal

On Thursday, Mr. Ghani’s second Vice-President, Sarwar Danish, confirmed that Mr. Abdullah would be leading the peace council.

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