KABUL: The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has urged Afghan leaders not to allow political differences to undermine recent security gains in the war-torn country.

U.S. General John Nicholson made the remarks as President Ashraf Ghani and his governing partner, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, are locked in a political confrontation, raising questions about the survival of their so-called national unity government.

"RS (Resolute Support) respects the Afghan political process, but has no involvement with it. Our only message to all involved is please don't let the political process undermine the security gains and progress within the security institutions that have been made over the last six-nine months," said General Nicholson in written comments that NATO's Resolute Support mission sent to media in Kabul.

Simmering tensions between Ghani and Abdullah were publicly exposed for the first time last week when the chief executive criticized the president and accused him of not honoring provisions of the political agreement they signed in September 2014, that paved the way for installing the unity government.

President Ghani called the remarks counterproductive and “not in line with the spirit and principles that shape the foundation of governance.”

Abdullah responded by demanding “total implementation of the agreement on unity government; we don't want anything more or less than that because implementation of the agreement would lead to the survival and stability of the country,” he said.

The two Afghan leaders met for the first time on Wednesday since the political turmoil erupted and are scheduled to hold more talks in coming days to resolve their differences.

The Obama administration has reiterated its support for the Afghan unity government, encouraging both Ghani and Abdullah to work together for a prosperous and stable Afghanistan.