Abdullah’s new job is to lead talks with Taliban at a time when President Ghani is going for war.

After months of political discord, following an already delayed election and disputed results that saw two simultaneous presidential inaugurations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah came to a power-sharing agreement on March 17.

While President Ghani was declared the winner of the September 2019 elections by the country’s Independent Election Commission, Mr. Abdullah alleged election fraud and declared himself as the rightful winner, ensuing over two months of political uncertainty.

The latest agreement is the result of many rounds of negotiation between the two rival leaders and pressure from the U.S., following a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also threatened to cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan unless a settlement was reached.

According to the deal, President Ghani will retain the presidency, while Mr. Abdullah will assume a newly created office of the Chairman of the High Council for Peace and National Reconciliation. He will also be appointing 50% of the Afghan Cabinet and other provincial offices. “The agreement is not a privilege or a handout,” Mr. Abdullah said during the signing ceremony. “It’s rooted in the last election and every clean vote. It comes at a very difficult time when we face serious threats,” he said, referring to the increasing violence in Afghanistan.

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