President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, are feuding again, say sources, this time over their picks for the State Ministry for Peace Affairs, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Abdullah has picked former economy minister Mustafa Mastoor for the post, but Ghani has opposed to this decision, the sources said, adding that the disagreements have also delayed the appointment of members of the High Council for National Reconciliation – a government institution that was formed based on a political agreement between Abdullah and Ghani in May.
Abdullah has been given a 50 percent share in the cabinet based on the agreement. This means that he can have 11 ministers from his team and five heads of independent directorates plus two deputy ministers in key ministries. He also has a share in nominating his picks as governors in provinces where he won a majority of votes in the 2019 presidential elections.
President Ghani has almost completed the nomination of his part of ministers, but the Presidential Palace is still waiting for a list from Abdullah’s office. Abdullah’s close aides said it has been discussed that the new cabinet and the High Council for National Reconciliation would begin their work at the same time.
“Some agreements were made in the presence of Afghanistan’s big figures and everyone expected that these commitments would be implemented. We are still hopeful that commitments are not broken and the commitments are implemented. If one side violates the commitments, it will create problems in the country,” said Fazl Ahmd Manawi, a close aide to Abdullah.
Issues around the share of Abdullah’s team to pick provincial governors and independent directorates have yet to be solved.
“In some provinces they were expected to have governors from Sapidar Palace, but it has been heard from the media that someone has been appointed by the Presidential Palace. This will pose a problem for the agreement,” Manawi added.
The Presidential Palace said discussions are underway to announce the start of the work of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
“Many things have been done. It is not good judgment to say that work has not been done. We will have good news soon on (the council’s) deputies and members,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Some lawmakers meanwhile said they see Ghani and Abdullah behind the increasing lack of security and the current situation in the country.
“It is a shame for the president and for Abdullah. They are taking the country towards a crisis,” said Gul Ahmad Noorzad, an MP.
“Efforts for not implementing the political agreement has impeded the cabinet appointment,” said Ali Akbar Jamshidi, an MP.
This comes as former president Hamid Karzai on Sunday met with Abdullah and discussed the implementation of the political agreement.