Lawmakers seek end to Ghani-Abdullah standoff

KABUL (TOLO News): Members of the Meshrano Jirga, the upper house of the Afghan parliament, held a special session on Sunday where they warned that the country will face more challenges, the crisis will deepen and militants will benefit from the situation if the political tensions between President Ghani and his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah remain unsolved.

The senators summoned security officials to the house to provide a brief on the security situation, but the officials did not attend. Next, the topic of fighting against the coronavirus and the ways to end the standoff between the two leaders topped the agenda of the lawmakers, who called on Ghani and Abdullah to agree on an inclusive government.

The tensions remain unsolved despite political negotiations between Ghani and Abdullah’s team. Afghan political leaders have also taken the steps to hold meetings with both sides, but the expected results are yet to be seen. Ghani has proposed the leadership of the High Council of Peace and Reconciliation to Abdullah, but Abdullah’s aides have said they have their own plan for ending the political rift.

“The continuation of the tension intensifies the war in favor of the Taliban,” said Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, the deputy speaker of the senate.

“As long as it is prolonged, it further benefits the enemy,” said Mohammad Haneef Hanafi, a senator.

Sources within Abdullah’s team told TOLOnews that Abdullah Abdullah has prepared a plan that involves the High Council of Peace and Reconciliation as well as the division of 50% of power, but the proposed plan has not been given to Ashraf Ghani. Abdullah’s spokesman did not provide details on the proposed plan.

“The legitimate national and international concerns are understandable for us. Our meetings on finalizing the proposed plan are underway,” said Omid Maisam, Abdullah’s spokesman.

“The political tension has created deep concern among the people and I hope that they end it as soon as possible,” said Abdullah Qarloq, head of the Senate’s secretariat.

Aides close to former president Hamid Karzai – who has been involved in talks with Ghani and Abdullah – said the mediation by Afghan political leaders is underway, and has raised hopes for an end to the standoff.

“We expect an agreement that is acceptable for the people of Afghanistan and for the future of the country,” said Ahmadullah Alizai, an analyst.

The political crisis in the country has created concern among Afghans who say it will affect the government’s fight against the coronavirus.

“They should think about the people, not about power and dollar,” said a Kabul resident.

“We expect them to make an agreement and prevent the people from being more miserable,” said a Kabul resident.

The political turmoil led to a decision by the US to cut its annual aid to Afghanistan.

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