New Delhi: The United States has rejected the formation of a parallel Afghan government led by opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah along with that of ruling President Ashraf Ghani.Also Read - Taliban Ask Officials Not to Carry Out Public Executions Unless Directed by 'Top Court'
“We strongly oppose any action to establish a parallel government, and any use of force to resolve political differences,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. Also Read - Taliban Intimidation Causing School Attendance Rates to Remain Low
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was present at Ghani’s oath-taking ceremony, while Abdullah’s swearing-in took place in the presence of local leaders. Also Read - International Flights: Airline Suspends Flights From Kabul Citing Taliban Interference. Details Here
Ghani and Abdullah, who have been wrangling against each other since last year, held parallel swearing-in ceremonies in Kabul on Monday throwing the country into a major political crisis amid the ongoing peace process.
Besides, multiple explosions were heard during the swearing-in ceremony for his second five-year term. Although it was ascertained who was behind the blasts, it was being suspected to have come from supporters of Abdullah.
This political crisis in the war-ravaged nation has been brewing since September last year, when the holding of the elections was marked by low participation amid threats from the Taliban and subsequent allegations of massive fraud by Ghani’s rivals.
The turmoil deepened as the new government was expected to prepare for talks with the Taliban on March 10, as a follow up to the Feb 29 peace agreement between the US and the insurgents over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Despite rejecting the parallel swearing-in, Pompeo appreciated “Dr Abdullah’s statement March 9 underscoring similar commitments to peace and inclusivity” in line with Ghani’s statement that “discussions and negotiations will continue for the next two weeks to come to an agreement on an inclusive government which unifies the country and prioritizes peace.”
The US official also praised Ghani’s announcement that he will “issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release and the formation of a national team for intra-Afghan negotiations” with the insurgents with whom the US has already reached an agreement on the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.
With IANS inputs