‘Palace attempting to divide Abdullah camp’, says aide

KABUL (Tolo News): A spokesman for Abdullah Abdullah on Saturday claimed that the Presidential Palace is trying to “create differences” between political and former mujahideen leaders who are supporting Abdullah’s stance. Omid Maisam said such efforts will not work and that political and former mujahideen leaders will continue to support Abdullah’s side.

He added that the “inclusive government”, announced by Abdullah Abdullah, will soon start its work. “Efforts have been intensified over months, weeks and days now to create rifts within the Stability and Convergence team and the “inclusive” government, but these efforts have failed, fortunately,” Maisam added.

The Presidential Palace rejected the claims, saying the president has had meetings with a number of political leaders to address political tensions. “Negotiations are underway for ending rifts and these negotiations will continue,” a presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Minapal said. “The government in no way has the intention to create rifts among politicians.” This comes as another spokesman for Abdullah, Fraidoon Khwazoon, said meetings of prominent political leaders–who had a five-day deadline to end the rift between President Ghani and Abdullah–have ended with no results.

Former president Hamid Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf and former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni are the key figures who have held many meetings with Ghani and Abdullah over the last month. Earlier this week, they urged President Ghani to stop cabinet appointments for five days. This call was accepted by both sides. Ghani proposed to Abdullah the post of the head of the High Council of Peace and Reconciliation, to lead peace efforts and decide on major issues regarding the process, but the proposal has yet to be accepted by Abdullah Abdullah.

Amir Mohammad Akhundzada, an aide to Abdullah, said Ghani has not accepted Abdullah’s proposal. “Ghani’s proposed plan is not acceptable for anyone, especially for Abdullah Abdullah. But Abdullah Abdullah had lots of flexibility,” Akhundzada said. But some politicians who have met with Ghani and Abdullah in recent weeks say that a number of people around the two leaders have an interest in prolonging the political turmoil. “I see positive morale on both sides. The reason behind no progress in the talks is the presence of individuals who do not want the tensions to be solved,” said Abdullah Qarloq, member of Meshrano Jirga, the Upper House of Parliament.