KABUL - Afghanistan’s chief executive has castigated his ally Ashraf Ghani as “unfit for the presidency”, in a public outburst highlighting bitter internal divisions that threaten their US-brokered power-sharing agreement.

Abdullah Abdullah’s comments come ahead of a September deadline for the government to honour the fragile agreement signed after the fraud-tainted presidential election in 2014, which both leaders claimed to have won.

By then the government is expected to enact sweeping election reforms and amend the constitution to create the position of prime minister for Abdullah. Observers say that deadline is unlikely to be met, effectively tipping Afghanistan into a political crisis.

“Electoral reforms were one of the promises made when the National Unity Government was formed. Why weren’t these reforms brought?” Abdullah told a small gathering in Kabul on Thursday.

“Mr President, over a period of three months you do not have time to see your chief executive face-to-face for even an hour or two? What do you spend your time on?

“There are arguments in every government but if someone does not have patience for discussion, then he is unfit for the presidency.”

He painted Ghani as arrogant and out of touch with the deteriorating situation in the country. “The government is paralysed and ministers do not have the chance to speak (Ghani) provides a one-hour lecture but he should listen to the ministers for 15 minutes,” he said.

Abdullah, a former anti-Soviet fighter, also accused Ghani of monopolising power and not consulting him over key government appointments.

The presidential palace offered a measured response on Friday, saying Abdullah’s remarks “were not in accordance with the spirit of governance”, while at the same time extending him an olive branch. “The National Unity Government will work collectively, and very soon serious and effective discussions will take place (regarding Abdullah’s comments),” the palace said, without offering details.

Abdullah said he would meet Ghani on Saturday (today) to try to iron out some of their differences.