President Ashraf Ghani has publicly proposed that the leadership of the peace council be taken on by his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah, who disputed the recent election results and has announced a parallel government.
The two sides could not reach an agreement when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul last month and held meetings with both leaders (together and separately). As a consequence, the US announced a $1 billion reduction of its annual aid to Afghanistan, but mentioned that the decision will be reviewed if a solution is found to the political impasse.
“You share with Mr. Abdullah the issue that I am suggesting. It is the leadership of the peace process,” Ghani said. “A high peace council should be established and (Dr. Abdullah) should head the high peace council.”
Ghani added: “His (Abdullah’s) protocol can be the protocol of a vice president, his security, his budget, his decision- making, all can be discussed. We have full flexibility.”
Ghani said he had suggested that Abdullah include his own (Abdullah's) aides in Ghani's new cabinet.
“We recommended Mr. Abdullah give a list of all his influential aides,” Ghani said. “Measures should be clear. Each minister, without exception, should have a commitment with you (lawmakers), with me and with the nation.”
Ghani defended his new cabinet, saying it will be a cabinet in which all Afghans will feel represented.
“Participation of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan, the participation of all zones of Afghanistan… the participation of all provinces in the government, the participation of Afghan women and men, the participation of influential political figures and talented managers all are the measures by which I am selecting (the cabinet),” Ghani said.
Ghani called the coronavirus crisis a bigger problem beyond a health challenge.
"It will take 10 years for the world economy to stand on its feet,” Ghani said.
Ghani said that, so far, he has held 38 meetings on the coronavirus after the first case was reported in Afghanistan – on Feb. 24.
“If we want to manage this crisis, it is not possible without speedy, serious and inclusive decision-making,” he said, referring to the fight against the coronavirus in the country. He added that coping with this crisis is not possible with a “two-headed” government.