Taliban Reject Afghan Unity Gov’t Pact as US Sham

Taliban Reject Afghan Unity Gov’t Pact as US ShamTaliban Reject Afghan Unity Gov’t Pact as US Sham

Afghanistan’s Taliban militants on Monday decried a pact by rival election candidates to form a government of national unity as a “sham” orchestrated by the United States and unacceptable to the Afghan people.

Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani was named president-elect on Sunday after he signed a deal to share power with his opponent, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, ending months of turmoil that has destabilized the country.

Ghani’s administration must now not only forge an effective government after so much acrimony, but also deal with an emboldened Taliban insurgency.

The Taliban have been fighting to oust US-led foreign forces and their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, rejected the national unity government pact as a 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.

“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,” Reuters reported.

The United States strongly pushed for a power-sharing deal between Ghani and Abdullah. US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned the rival candidates for weeks to coax them towards compromise and President Barack Obama also made appeals for a unity government deal.

 Controversial Security Pact

Under the terms of the unity deal, Ghani will share power with a chief executive proposed by Abdullah. 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 Sept. 29, according to a senior official. The new chief executive is expected to be inaugurated at the same time.

One of Ghani’s first acts is likely to be to sign a controversial security agreement with the United States. He has previously declared support for the pact to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

 Vote Totals Kept Secret

The deal brings to a close an election season that began in April, when millions of Afghans first went to the polls despite threats from Taliban.

A nation long tired of election bluffs and threats seemed to accept the electoral deal with a shrug. There were no mass celebrations in the streets of Kabul, and Afghan journalists reacted angrily when the election commission declined to release final results, abruptly ending a brief news conference without taking questions.

The decision not to release vote totals underscores the fear of potential violence despite Sunday’s deal. One of Abdullah’s final demands was that the election commission not releases the vote count because of the fraud he alleges took place, according to AP.

Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, chairman of the election commission, said the final ballot counts have been shared with both candidates and that the commission would announce the numbers publicly later.

A Ghani Ahmadzai supporter — Halim Fidai, a former governor — said Sunday that Kubis, the UN representative, told the commission not to release vote tallies. However, a UN official said the allegation was not true and the UN was only facilitating dialogue between the candidates and the election commission regarding the release of results. The official insisted on anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Ghani Admadzai supporters and election commission reports circulating on social media said that the final vote gave Ghani Ahmadzai roughly 55 percent and Abdullah roughly 45 percent.