Middle East

Afghanistans President Ghani signs power-sharing deal with rival Abdullah

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal to end a months-long political stalemate, Ghani's spokesman said on Sunday, a step that could smooth efforts to end the country's longrunning war.

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"The Political Agreement between President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has just been signed," said Sediq Sediqqi, Ghani's spokesman, on Twitter. Abdullah would lead the council for peace talks with the insurgent Taliban and his team members would be included in cabinet, Sediqqi added.

Seddiqi said more details would be released shortly. It was not immediately known which ministerial positions Abdullah's camp would control.

Abdullah had disputed the results of an election in September and announced the formation of a parallel government earlier this year, undermining Ghani's administration at a time when the United States was trying to advance a peace process with the Taliban to end the 19-year Afghan war.

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Discussions over the final sticking points including the allocation of some key posts had been underway throughout the day, three sources said.

Abdullah had wanted to control a major portfolio such as finance or foreign affairs and while Ghani had not agreed to this, he could offer control of the interior ministry, sources said shortly before the deal was signed.

Washington has been frustrated by the growing impasse between the two men, even after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to Kabul in March to mediate. It had announced it planned to cut $1 billion in aid because the men could not agree.

Growing financial pressures

It was not immediately clear whether Sunday's agreement would result in the aid commitment being reinstated. Afghanistan is facing growing fiscal pressures, with tax revenues falling and foreign aid pledges due this year expected to shrink.

Officials say a deaRead More – Source