White House applauds power-sharing deal in Afghanistan

 

The White House early Sunday congratulated Afghan presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani for signing an agreement on the formation of a national unity government.

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“Signing this political agreement helps bring closure to Afghanistan’s political crisis, and restores confidence in the way forward. We support this agreement and stand ready to work with the next administration to ensure its success,” press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

The process to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai has been rife with accusations of voter fraud.

Earlier this summer, Abdullah's supporters launched violent protests in some of Afghanistan's biggest cities over initial returns that showed Ghani, a former finance minister, as the victor. At the time, the demonstrators urged Abdullah to form a breakaway government.

Ghani will be named president under the agreement.

Earnest said millions of Afghans braved insecurity and threats to cast votes, adding that “this agreement respects the Afghan people’s collective determination.”

“Reaching this agreement required difficult choices, partnership and compromise on the part of both candidates, and the outcome of their talks prioritizes the recognized needs of the Afghan nation ahead of politics or individual power,” he added.

Earnest said the agreement marks an important opportunity for “united and increased stability in Afghanistan.”

“We continue to call on all Afghans — including political, religious, and civil society leaders — to support this agreement and to come together in calling for cooperation and calm,” he said.

“Respect for the democratic process is the only viable path for Afghanistan to continue its progress toward a secure and stable future, and ensure the continued support of the United States and the international community,” Earnest added.

The White House said Sunday afternoon that President Obama spoke to Ghani and Abdullah “to congratulate them on concluding their agreement for a government of national unity and safeguarding the first democratic and peaceful transfer of leadership in Afghanistan’s history.”

“The President thanked Drs. Ghani and Abdullah for their leadership and willingness to partner to advance Afghanistan's national interests,” the White House said in a statement.

— This report was updated at 2:34 p.m.