Ending The Stalemate

After months of a deadlock and two presidential candidates declaring themselves the sole victor, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani have reportedly come to terms to end the impasse. Under the new agreement, Ashraf Ghani, recognised internationally as the ‘official’ president, will continue to perform his duties while Mr Abdullah will lead the peace committee and the negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.

It is not surprising that a disagreement that has carried forward from the last months of the previous year has taken a little over a month to settle. Once the US decided to make a temporary cut of $1 billion on Afghanistan’s annual aid, things had to be resolved, one way or another. The Afghan government counts on the US administration and without these funds, regardless of who is recognised as the president, there wouldn’t be much of a government in place.

With Mr Abdullah spearheading the peace talks with the Taliban, the government can finally go into the discussions united, as long as they agree on what they are willing to give in to and which aspects of the talks are non-negotiable.

The Afghan Taliban, much like the other stakeholders in the country, will undoubtedly want a slice of the pie; how much they get is entirely up to both sides and what they can agree on once the process officially commences.

The international community is unanimous in its belief that a power-sharing mechanism which is both inclusive and balanced is the only way to ensure that peace is finally established in both Afghanistan and the region at large. The Afghan Taliban continue to carry out attacks against the state, even after a deal was signed with the US. In this situation, even with one president, discussions might prove to be challenging for the Afghan government. But for now, even this small step towards peace should be seen as progress made.

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