New Afghan president hails election deal

Ashraf Ghani calls power sharing pact with rival Abdullah Abdullah a “big victory” for Afghan nation.

Under the "national unity government" deal, Ghani will be president and Abdullah will serve as chief executiver [AFP]

Afghanistan’s new President-elect Ashraf Ghani congratulated the country on what he called its first democratic transfer of power, with the Taliban, an Islamic movement which took control and continues to fight in Afghanistan, rejecting the pact.

Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah struck an agreement on Sunday to form a “unity government”, after months of disputes over who was the rightful winner of the June 14 runoff presidential election tipped Afghanistan into a political crisis.

“It is a big victory for the Afghan nation that for the first time in our bright history, power is transferred from one elected president to another president based on the nation’s votes,” Ghani told cheering supporters in Kabul on Monday.

Under the “national unity government” deal, Ghani will become president and Abdullah will serve as chief executive – a new role similar to prime minister.

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The two will share control over who leads key institutions such as the army and other executive decisions.

Ghani is expected to be sworn in as president on September 29, according to a senior official. The new chief executive is
expected to be inaugurated at the same time.

“Foreigners said it was not possible for Afghans to peacefully transfer power,” Ghani said, addressing a crowd of noisy supporters in a nationally televised speech.

“Now you see it has happened after the people of Afghanistan waited very patiently for six months for the results,” he said, referring to the first-round vote in April.

“You voted to us so we could bring peace and stability. Stability in Afghanistan is more important to us than anything.

“The goal of the national unity government is peace. We are tired of blood.”

Taliban reject pact

The Taliban have been fighting to oust US-led foreign forces and their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, rejected the
national unity government pact as an unacceptable ploy orchestrated by their enemy.

“Installing Ashraf Ghani and forming a bogus administration will never be acceptable to the Afghans,” Mujahid said in a
statement emailed to journalists on Monday.

“The Americans must understand that our soil and land belong to us and all decisions and agreements are made by Afghans, not by the US foreign secretary or ambassador,” he said.

“We reject this American process and vow to continue our jihad until we free our nation from occupation and until we pave
the way for a pure Islamic government.”

Source: AFP, Reuters