A group of politicians and senior members of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team at a gathering in Kabul on Sunday criticized the Presidential Palace for “impeding” the peace process by introducing new conditions for a potential peace agreement.
Abdullah argued that instead of imposing more conditions, all offered opportunities should be taken advantage of for peace.
Abdullah Abdullah, his deputy Mohammad Mohaqiq, senior campaign team members and Abdullah’s running mates Assadullah Saadati and Babur Farahmand made speeches at the event, mainly accusing President Ghani of “monopolizing” power and the peace process.
Abdullah at this gathering was asked by his team members to stand against Ghani’s “one-sided” decisions, citing the president's recent appointment of a new acting minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A theme of Sunday's gathering, according to Abdullah, was a critique of “the arbitrary way that the Presidential Palace violates the National Unity Government’s agreement," which is a reference to the arrangement in which Ghani and Abdullah share power following the controversial 2014 election.
But Abdullah mainly focused on issues around the peace process and election – the two processes that are experiencing “slow progress," according to analysts.
Abdullah said his team is inclusive and can be a main stakeholder of the (peace) negotiations.
Abdullah's advocacy for a less restrictive approach to the peace process contrasts President Ghani’s consistent demand for a ceasefire instead of a reduction in violence. The Taliban has stated they are open to a reduction in violence.
“Peace is the will of all Afghans and it is not the monopoly of the Presidential Palace,” Abdullah said, adding “all Afghans have the right to be included in the negotiations.”
“Peace is a priority for us,” Abdullah reiterated at a meeting on Saturday held at the residence of Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy of Abdullah Abdullah, which brought together several key politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai, former vice president Mohammad Younus Qanooni, and the head of the High Peace Council (HPC), Mohammad Karim Khalili.
Abdullah said at that meeting that the election will help the peace efforts, calling it an important process. He assured his supporters that their rights will be defended and that a transparent result will be announced.
“We expect the electoral complaints commission to address all the complaints that are based on documents,” Abdullah said. “The two (election) commissions should act based on the law.”
Abdullah said a group within the government misuses their authority, which, according to him, has increased corruption and has affected accountability.
“Without the National Unity Government, the incumbent government does not have legitimacy, even for a minute,” Abdullah said. “The Palace does not have the right to make one-sided decisions.”