ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Sunday welcomed the signing of the agreement among political leaders in Kabul regarding formation of inclusive government and High Council of National Reconciliation.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at this critical juncture, it is vitally important that all Afghan leaders work together constructively in the supreme interest of Afghan people and help bring lasting peace and stability to the country affected by decades of violence and conflict.

Reaffirming abiding solidarity with people of Afghanistan, she said Pakistan reiterates its commitment to continue to support a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours.

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal, signaling the end of a months-long stalemate that plunged the country into a political crisis.

The breakthrough, which sees Abdullah heading peace talks with the Taliban, comes as Afghanistan battles a rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus and surging violence that saw dozens killed in brutal attacks last week.

Ghani said it was a “historic day” for Afghanistan and the agreement was reached without any international mediation. “We will share the burden and our shoulders, God willing, will be lighter,” he said, addressing Abdullah at the signing ceremony.

He added: “In the days ahead, we hope that with unity and cooperation, we would be able to first pave the ground for a ceasefire and then lasting peace.”

 

Abdullah said the deal commits to forming a “more inclusive, accountable and competent administration.”

He tweeted: “It’s meant to ensure a path to peace, improve governance, and protect rights, respect laws and values.”

Abdullah had previously served as Afghanistan’s chief executive under an earlier power-sharing deal but lost that post after he was defeated in a presidential election that the incumbent Ghani won in September.

 

Abdullah rejected the election results, alleging fraud. He declared himself president and held his own swearing-in ceremony on March 9, the day Ghani was reinstalled as president.

 

The agreement further says that Ghani will make Abdul Rashid Dostum, his former vice president turned ally of Abdullah, a marshal of the armed forces.

 

The agreement names Abdullah to lead future peace talks with the Taliban, which has already signed a landmark accord with the United States to pave the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also welcomed the power-sharing deal. “Secretary Pompeo noted that he regretted the time lost during the political impasse,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

 

She added: “He (Pompeii) reiterated that the priority for the United States remains a political settlement to end the conflict and welcomed the commitment by the two leaders to act immediately in support of prompt entry into intra-Afghan negotiations.”

 

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said peace and reconciliation were also imperative for being able to effectively respond to the formidable challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“The US-Taliban Peace Agreement has created a historic opportunity, which must be seized by all Afghan stakeholders to advance the goals of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

 

It is critical that the Intra-Afghan negotiations commence at the earliest, culminating in a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan, it added.

 

“All Afghan parties must honour their respective commitments, work with perseverance and sense of common purpose, and also guard against the machinations of any spoilers, from within and without,” the statement said. Pakistan reaffirmed solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and reiterated the commitment to continue “to support a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours.”