Political rivals of Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing agreement. The Ministry of External Affairs of India praised the agreement; signed between the two leaders in a press release on May 17, 2020. India welcomed the political agreement concluded by the political leadership in Kabul. The Press Release states, “India has consistently supported inclusive governance, national unity, strong institutions, Constitutional order, rights of all sections of society and the territorial integrity of Afghanistan.”
India urged that the government in Kabul should stop the bloodshed in the country and focus on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. India called for an immediate ceasefire; assistance to the people of Afghanistan to deal with the humanitarian situation arising from COVID-19.
While stating that the continuing and enhanced violence and terror in Afghanistan remains a matter of deep concern.
The deal, signed by both, states Ghani would remain president and calls for Abdullah to lead the country’s National Reconciliation High Council. Moreover, Ghani’s Cabinet will include some members of Abdullah’s team. The Reconciliation Council is given the authority to handle and approve all affairs related to Afghanistan’s peace.
Situation in Afghanistan before the Agreement
Both the leaders had declared themselves the winner of September presidential elections. Afghanistan’s Election Commission had announced Ghani victorious with more than 50% of the vote. Abdullah had apparently received more than 39% of the vote but he refused to accept the verdict pointing towards widespread voting irregularities. Both of them had declared themselves president in parallel inauguration ceremonies in March 2020.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan has more than 6, 400 confirmed infections of about 22,000 people who were tested for Coronavirus. The cities including the capital are in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.