In 2014, their rivalry resulted in a United States-brokered deal to share power, which was punctuated by five years of bickering.

And now Ghani and Abdullah are again disputing an election result.

Ghani is officially the winner - but only just, and that is rejected by Abdullah, who shares power with the president as a chief executive.

He is now threatening to form his own parallel government.

This political showdown could not come at a more critical time for Afghanistan.

The US and the Taliban appear close to an agreement that could lead to a planned reduction in violence, and if that posture is largely maintained it could be a pre-cursor to Afghan politicians sitting opposite the Taliban.

How can any of that happen, until we know: who runs Afghanistan?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie


Tamim Asey - Former deputy minister of defence and the executive chairman of The Institute of War and Peace Studies

Simbal Khan - Political and security analyst

Source: Al Jazeera News