US Secretary of State John Kerry called up Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah in a bid to douse the simmering tension between the two Afghan leaders and save the Unity government formed as a result of his intervention and mediation two years ago. “The Secretary spoke with both President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah just this morning about the importance of continuing to move forward with the political and economic reforms that they’re trying to enact and that all those reforms,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
“We understand that they are hard to come by, will be key to try to get to that kind of future in Afghanistan,” Kirby told reporters amidst reports of sharp differences between Ghani and Abdullah. Last week, Abdullah lashed out at Ghani saying that the latter was unfit for the office he holds.
Ghani and Abdullah came to power two years ago after a deal for a Unity government was hammered by Kerry following a disputed election in 2014. Kerry made several trips to Afghanistan but spent quite amount of his time and energy in negotiating the agreement between Ghani and Abdullah, in the absence of which many fear the country would have collapsed into chaos.
The differences between Abdullah and Ghani coming out in open might have an adverse impact on Afghanistan. The State Department says it wants the government to continue to complete its full term of five years.
However, a State Department official conceded they were not fully confident given the sharp exchange of words between the two camps of the Afghan government. In a speech last Thursday, Abdullah said Ghani was unfit to govern the country because he has failed to work collaboratively and implement pledges of introducing electoral reforms. “You don’t have time to see your chief executive one-on-one for even an hour or two over a period of three months,” Abdullah said.
“Unfortunately, statements made by his excellency Abdullah Abdullah yesterday were in contradiction to the spirit and morale of the governance,” said a spokesman of Ghani a day after. Kerry’s phone call to Ghani and Abdullah is seen in this context. The State Department did not say if the calls were made separately or he talked to them in a conference call.