First Anniversary of the Political Agreement; The Presidential Palace Was Not Committed to its Promises

The political agreement between Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah was signed on May 17, 2020. Now that a year has passed since the signing of this agreement, the Abdullah faction (Sapidar) is complaining about the non-implementation of some articles of the agreement. Sources say that most of the major aspects of the agreement have not been implemented, except for the controversial formation of the cabinet and the start of the work of the High Council for National Conciliation. In the meantime, the controversy over the seat of the Ministry of Interior and the non-distribution of seats in the provinces is more visible these days. A number of members of the House of Representatives believe that the Presidential Palace (Arg) does not adhere to its promises in alignment with national interests. According to them, the current situation is such that even if Arg swears on the Holy Qur’an to commit to their promises, their commitment can not be believed. Political experts also say that the political agreement and the promises made to Sapidar were not fulfilled by Arg. Although the Presidential Palace calls the political agreement an achievement of the government, it does not say how much it has implemented it. Arg is accused of failing to implement the peace agreement as President Ghani has stepped up efforts in recent days to build a national consensus for peace.

Was the Political Agreement Implemented?

At the end of May last year, the efforts of domestic mediators to resolve the political stalemate after the presidential election in the country paid off. Under an agreement called a “Political Agreement”, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who was declared president by the Independent Election Commission at the time, shared cabinet seats with Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of the High Council for National Reconciliation and one of the presidential candidates. In addition, other issues were agreed upon, including the establishment of the High Council for National Reconciliation and the distribution of some other seats. The agreement was signed on May 17 in six final parts between the two sides.

The first part of the political agreement emphasizes the establishment of the High Council of State. The council was to include political leaders and national figures, and was responsible for building political consensus. Although a number of politicians gathered at the Presidential Palace on February 27 and news of the opening of the council’s meetings was published, so far the council has not been formed as sources in Sapidar expect. The second part of the agreement is the establishment of the High Council for National Reconciliation, which will lead the national peace process. Although Mr. Abdullah took office only two weeks after the agreement was signed, the council’s Leadership Committee opened on December 5 and its general assembly has not yet been formed.

Also, while the High Council for National Reconciliation was recognized as an independent budget unit, however, members of parliament did not approve the budget, and this issue has made it difficult for the body to finalize its formation. In the third part of the agreement, “appreciation of the previous leaders of the peace process” is mentioned. Although the political agreement between Arg and Sapidar was for one year, the performance of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Salahuddin Rabbani, Sayed Ahmad Gilani and Mohammad Karim Khalili, who served as chair of the High Peace Council and whose letters were included in this section, has not been praised.

In the most important case and the fourth part of the political agreement, the issue of participation in government is specified. Although the cabinet was split between Arg and Sapidar, the seat of the Ministry of Interior is currently controversial because President Ghani has fired former Minister of Interior Mohammad Masoud Andarabi, who was nominated by Mr. Abdullah. Sources in Sapidar stated that Abdullah Abdullah’s option for the ministry is final, but Arg disagrees. Even according to sources, the bargaining for the Interior Ministry seat has led to controversy and dissatisfaction among those at Arg. In addition, it was agreed that the governors would be nominated with “mutual agreement”, but so far, this principle has not been observed. In the latest case, the appointment of Mohammad Dawood Laghmani as governor of Faryab has met with a wave of reactions. In addition, some seats in the independent administrations, deputies and the Senate were to be given to Abdullah but this has not been implemented as well. In the meantime, only the awarding of the title of Marshall to Abdul Rashid Dostum has been finalized.

Also, in the fifth part of the agreement, some reforms, including laying the groundwork for provincial and district council elections, appointing a board to draft and amend the Constitution, electoral reforms, ‌amending the party law and establishing new local administrations, have remained unimplemented. Although Section 6 of the Agreement stipulates that an oversight and mediation committee consisting of six national and political leaders will be set up to prevent violations of the agreement, parts of the agreement have not been implemented despite the presence of the delegation, and other sections. In addition, a joint technical team was to be set up to identify breaches of the agreement and, in the event of disagreement, to refer the breaches to the mediation board, but this has not yet been done.

The Political Agreement; Sapidar does not agree

The Presidential Palace on Monday, May 17, mentioned the one-year anniversary of the political agreement, calling it an achievement of the government. “The necessary consensus reached as a result of the political agreement and understanding with political and national figures for peace is one of the achievements of the government,” Fatema Mursal, the vice president’s spokesperson, said in a video. Officials at the presidential palace, however, did not comment on how much they were committed to implementing the terms of the agreement.

Sapidar, however, clarified that despite the implementation of some articles of the agreement, parts of it have not been implemented. Reacting to the one-year anniversary of the political agreement, Firaidon Khozun, spokesperson for the High Council for National Reconciliation, said on Monday, May 17, that the reason for signing the political agreement was to get out of the crisis in alignment with the national interest. However, he clarified that despite the implementation of some parts of the agreement, parts of it have not been implemented yet. According to him, if these sections were implemented, the situation would improve compared to now. Mr. Khozun clarified that there is an opportunity so far and the remaining parts of the political agreement should be implemented.

Arg is not Committed to Promises and Pledges

Some members of the House of Representatives and political analysts believe that the political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah has not been implemented. According to them, in the current situation, the commitment of politicians in Arg to promises and pledges is not in alignment with the national interest. Mohammad Nasim Mudaber, a member of the House of Representatives, said that “lying” among Afghan politicians had increased to such an extent that even if they swear on the Holy Qur’an, their commitment can not be believed. He added that the organs do not believe in any division of power and that even the ministers nominated by Sapidar do not have authority despite the division of the cabinet. Mudabar blamed the process for the current crisis, saying it had caused Arg to be isolated by the international community for failing to form a national consensus.

At the same time, Sayed Ishaq Gilani, head of the Afghan National Solidarity Movement, told 8 Subh on Monday that the political agreement and the promises made to Abdullah Abdullah had not been fulfilled. He described the controversy over the Interior Ministry as a “violation”. Gilani also said that the necessary budget has not been allocated for this council and therefore its formation is not final yet. Sayed Ishaq Gilani stated that President Ghani has tried to evade everything.

Sources in Sapidar had previously said that Abdullah Abdullah was not satisfied with the implementation of the political agreement, but because of the peace process, he did not focus his efforts on this issue. Sapidar accuses parliamentarians and politicians of failing to implement the agreement, while there are efforts being made to build a national consensus.