US denounces bid for parallel Afghan government as withdrawal begins

AFP and Salaam Times

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (centre) arrives along with President Ashraf Ghani (right) and Afghan opposition presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah ahead of a news conference in Kabul February 29. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (centre) arrives along with President Ashraf Ghani (right) and Afghan opposition presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah ahead of a news conference in Kabul February 29. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

WASHINGTON -- The United States on Monday (March 9) denounced Afghan election runner-up Abdullah Abdullah's inauguration of himself as a rival president and urged unity in Kabul ahead of negotiations with the Taliban.

Ghani and Abdullah took oaths of office as president on Monday in rival ceremonies inside the sprawling palace compound.

Ghani was declared the winner of a fresh term in September polls, but Abdullah alleged fraud.

"We strongly oppose any action to establish a parallel government, and any use of force to resolve political differences," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, without explicitly naming Abdullah.

President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani arrive at the inauguration ceremony March 9 in Kabul. [Afghan Presidential Palace]

President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani arrive at the inauguration ceremony March 9 in Kabul. [Afghan Presidential Palace]

"Prioritising an inclusive government and unified Afghanistan is paramount for the future of the country and particularly for the cause of peace," he said.

Pompeo nonetheless welcomed statements by both Abdullah and Ghani showing a commitment to a peace process with the Taliban as the United States began to pull troops after its nearly two-decade war.

"I spent much of the last week trying to help Pres @ashrafghani and Dr. @DrabdullahCE come to an agreement on an inclusive and broadly accepted government. We will continue to assist," US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted Monday.

Abiding by agreement

Meanwhile, the United States Tuesday (March 10) called for a vote at the United Nations Security Council to endorse Washington's deal with the Taliban that was meant to pave the way to peace in Afghanistan, diplomats said.

The Security Council "urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to advance the peace process, including by participating in intra-Afghan negotiations through a diverse and inclusive negotiating team composed of Afghan political and civil society leaders, including women", according to the draft text seen by AFP.

American forces have started pulling out of two bases in Afghanistan, a US official said Tuesday, the day peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban were due to start despite widespread violence and a political crisis.

The United States under the terms of a deal signed in Doha in February has said that all foreign forces will quit Afghanistan within 14 months -- provided the Taliban stick to their security commitments.

Under the accord, the United States is initially supposed to cut its troop presence from about 12,000 currently to 8,600 by mid-July, and close five of its roughly 20 bases across the country.

Even with the drawdown, US forces retain "all the military means and authorities to accomplish our objectives", Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, said on Monday, referring to American counter-terrorism operations and support for Afghan forces.

Under the terms of the accord, the Taliban are supposed to tackle militant outfits such as the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) group and al-Qaeda as well as hold talks with the Afghan government.

Peace talks were supposed to start Tuesday but have been delayed by a dispute over the release of Taliban prisoners -- something that the insurgents have demanded as a prerequisite ahead of negotiations but that Ghani has so far refused to do.

Ghani on Tuesday was expected to announce a decree on the issue and reveal details of the negotiating team.

Do you like this article?

6 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

why taliban signed agreement with US ? when they killing everyday dozen innocent afghani public,


Fourteen years ago, the people of Afghanistan accepted the presence of the U.S forces in Afghanistan because they hoped that the forces would destroy terrorism and the absolute peace would return to their country. However, presence of foreign forces in the name of the war on terrorism not only did not eradicate terrorism, on the contrary, terrorism grew stronger during this period. Therefore, United States alongside with more than forty NATO countries failed in destroying terrorism and they should accept their defeat. During the time when United States and other countries were present in Afghanistan, more than one million Afghan humans were killed, as these foreigners are responsible for their killing . Now they have to respond to the world that what was their achievement, except killing of one million Afghans?


In my opinion, if we accept one another, stop war and violence, believe in peace, do loyalty and self-sacrifice, there is hope that we will reach a permanent peace after the withdrawal of foreign soldiers.


In this critical period of time, all the people of Afghanistan should become united to smash terrorism, reach for peace, preserve the recent achievements, and give up disputes. On one hand American forces leave Afghanistan, and on the other hand, discord among political leaders as well as the citizens of the country has culminated; therefore, I request all our gallant people to maintain their unity.


On one hand, we are happy that foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan, and on the other hand, we have fear that bloody internal wars will start once again and put Afghan people in the worst crisis. It is very difficult for the Taliban to compromise their ideological wills with the wills of the people and the interests of Afghanistan. It is difficult for Afghanistan to digest or absorb a violent group in itself. It is difficult for the political parties and civil society to consider the Taliban as part of the political structure and integrate them in this structure. It is also difficult for the ordinary people, the victims and the suffered ones to compromise with them. There are also a lot of ambiguities.


If peace with the Taliban comes in the process of a critical dialogue between us and the Taliban after withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, and we could bring them in the framework of a republic system by using government and civil power as well as major modern world techniques for civil struggle with a middle ages faction and school of thought, we will gain a big historical success. This victory will mean that the civil society and Afghan government have equilibrium and power to establish a civil order and control violence. Then we can perform and implement programs for re-socializing the Taliban.