The ousted governor of Balkh, Atta Mohammad Noor, again said at a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif on Saturday that his supporters are ready to take civic action if talks between government and Jamiat-e-Islami fail.
Noor called the incumbent government a coalition state and a government contravening the Constitution.
“When I called you for ‘green’ action, it will be a move where you will take to the streets in massive groups and chant your demands. If your voice is heard and the problem is solved then good; otherwise we will move towards ‘orange’ action. What is an orange action? It is a move where we will go out in massive groups and close roads and government offices in the entire province,” he said.
Noor, who is also the CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami Party, said his resignation was tied to that of the president and the chief executive. Noor signed a letter of resignation months ago, which President Ashraf Ghani accepted only last month. Noor has since said the letter is invalid.
Noor meanwhile also responded to recent remarks by new US Ambassador to Kabul John R. Bass.
“This government is a government based on an agreement. The ambassador of one of the countries talked about law in Afghanistan. However, we rely on the stance of US Vice President Mike Pence. He is the criterion for us because he has raised his voice from the White House and we welcomed this,” he said.
“It is possible that ARG (Presidential Palace) would have convinced the (US) ambassador to make the remarks, but I want to ask him that he should review the (Afghan) Constitution and understand the situation of Afghanistan.”
On Thursday, Bass called for an urgent solution to be found to end the ongoing dispute between government and Noor.
He said this dispute was an Afghan issue and needed to be dealt with accordingly. He said it was not an issue for the US or any other foreign country to resolve. It was an Afghan problem that needed to be resolved within the framework of the Constitution and in accordance with rule of law.
Some MPs believe the continuance of the dispute between government and Jamiat are against the interests of Afghanistan.
“If the tension continues, it will provide an opportunity for terrorists and also it will affect people’s lives,” said Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, the second deputy speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament.
For the first time after the removal of Noor from his office by the president, the deputy of President Ashraf Ghani’s Administrative Office, Haroon Chakhansoori talked about the issue at a press conference in Kabul on Saturday.
“The issue of Mr. Noor is a small internal issue which will be solved soon,” he said.
According to information obtained by TOLOnews on Thursday, Jamiat and the Presidential Palace (ARG) have reached an agreement on at least seven of twelve demands tabled to government by the party in their bid to break the ongoing stalemate.
In the draft agreement of the National Unity Government and Jamiat-e-Islami, the demands are described as follows:
• Establishment of a constitution amendment commission based on the political agreement of the National Unity Government (NUG)—in response to this, the government has agreed to create such a commission in the near future and the commission will propose the necessary amendments in the constitution within six months.
• Considering amendments in the election law and giving share to the political parties in the national assembly before next year’s elections—the two sides have not agreed on this issue.
• The re-election of members of the election commissions, but the two sides have not agreed on it, however they have agreed to bring about the necessary reforms in the election commissions.
• Both sides have agreed on holding the elections as per schedule this year.
• Holding the constitutional amendment Loya Jirga, the Grand Assembly, after the parliamentary and district council elections and before the presidential elections, but the two sides have agreed that if the preconditions are implemented completely, the Loya Jirga can be held after the presidential elections.
Jamiat-e-Islami says that the party has not reached any kind of settlement with the presidential palace’s negotiators about the rolling out process of electronic ID cards.
• Giving share of Jamiat-e-Islam in the national unity government based on the NUG political agreement—the government has agreed that Balkh governor and police chief must be determined on the basis of a recommendation by Jamiat-e-Islami. Negotiations were also held on two ministries, but talks were not held on certain candidates who will occupy the two ministries.
• Providing clear information about the nature of the attack on the funeral ceremony of Salem Ezedyar. The special commission which was tasked to investigate the incident will brief Jamiat about the attack, if Jamiat is not satisfied about the outcomes, the investigations will continue.
• The two sides have agreed to the establishment of a High Council of Political Parties.
• The two sides also agreed to create a joint commission to oversee the implementation of the agreement between the government and Jamiat-e-Islami within the framework of a specific timeline.
• Extension of the tenure of Atta Mohammad Noor as governor of Balkh until ARG and Jamiat-e-Islami reach a final settlement—the two sides agreed that if key items of the proposals are accepted by government, in this case, Noor will step down from his post.
• Jamiat has proposed the overseeing of the agreement by the US ambassador to Afghanistan and UN delegation, something the government rejected. But Jamiat has asked the president to give assurance about the agreement at a press conference.
It appears however that there are still serious challenges ahead for both parties before they can reach a final agreement.