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Afghanistan needs a Government of National Reconciliation

19 87 54

Several weeks after the historic United States-Taliban agreement in Doha, the situation in Afghanistan seems more intractable than at any time in the last 19 years. Contrary to the promises, the war continues while the hope for peace is slimming.

Disappointed in the Afghan leadership, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slashed $1bn in aid to the country after he failed to broker a power-sharing deal between political rivals incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah. Both declared themselves president after presidential election results were announced and simultaneously held inauguration ceremonies on March 9.

In Washington, the opportunity to finally end the US's longest war outweighs any criticism about the confusing parameters of the deal. In Kabul, some significant players, including Ghani, are only reluctantly cooperating with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US peace envoy, who is pushing to convene the intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as possible, now that the agreement's March 10 deadline has passed.

The initial political resistance to the Doha accords, including Ghani's decision not to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners or to name a negotiating team, indicates that reconciling the conflicting interests of the Afghan players will not be easy. Optimistic policymakers hoped that Afghanistan's September 2019 presidential election would deliver a legitimate president who could unify the nation around peace, ease the US military withdrawal, and lead the........

© Al Jazeera