Afghanistan’s former first vice president and leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, would be awarded the rank of marshal as part of a proposed political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah, said a close aide to Dostum on Thursday.
This new development takes place amid recent reports of a breakthrough in the talks between Ghani and Abdullah.
Dostum’s aide Bashir Ahmad Tayyanj said that good news was on the way in the coming days, stating that the political agreement will determine the authorities of Dostum.
“Awarding the rank of marshal is a must, I can congratulate you from this moment, there is good news ahead of us and I will brief you on it in the next few days,” said Tayyanj.
He also said that the political leaders of the country have an agreement to award Dostum the rank of marshal, adding that talks are now underway to determine Dostum’s authorities.
The Presidential Palace so far has not made an official comment on the issue.
On May 2, Abdullah Abdullah sent his ‘Inclusive Government Plan’ to the Presidential Palace for their consideration.
Abdullah on Firday said that there have been agreements in principle in the political negotiations with the palace.
“We hope to finalize this agreement in the next few days so that an inclusive government will be formed--a government that would have national and international recognition,” said Omid Maisam, a spokesman for Abdullah Abdullah.
What do ordinary Afghans say?
The political impasse between Ghani and Abdullah has drawn strong condemnation from ordinary Afghans and the country’s international partners. Many key people and organizations have called on the two rivals to compromise and seal a deal in the midst of health, security and economic challenges.
“The Taliban are nor willing to enter into intra-Afghan talks with a delegation that has no unity,” said Jalaluddin Shinwari, the Afghan attorney general during the Taliban regime.
At the same time, there is a perception inside some Afghan political elites that the two men (Ghani and Abdullah) are bargaining for their political interests rather than the country’s interests.
“We will not be able to address the plight of the people and fight the coronavirus and deal with other problems if these leaders do not reach a consensus about their interests,” said Hafiz Akhgar, a civil society activist in Kabul.
“We cannot have major expectations from them (Ghani and Abdullah), because we have seen them fighting for their own interests; they are prepared to create any crisis for their own interest,” said Ehsan Haidar, a resident in Kabul.
Nevertheless, sources familiar with the talks between the Ghani and Abdullah camps have said that Salahuddin Rabbani, the leader of the Jamiat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan and a key supporter of Abdullah in last September’s elections, has announced his political split with Abdullah.