Afghan Presidential Candidates Reach Power-Sharing Deal

Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates signed a power-sharing deal, brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry, over the weekend. The agreement marks an end to months of uncertainty following June’s hotly contested runoff vote. “Millions of Afghans braved insecurity and threats to vote for Dr. [Abdullah] Abdullah and Dr. [Ashraf] Ghani, and this agreement respects the Afghan people’s collective determination,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who expressed the US’ support of the agreement in a Sept. 21 statement. Although the results of the runoff have not yet been announced, outgoing President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said “Ghani is expected to be sworn in as President within a week,” reported Reuters. The spokesman also said one of the new government’s first acts would be to sign the long-awaited bilateral security agreement, which would allow US troops to continue operating in Afghanistan in a noncombat role after this year. “We look forward to resolution of the electoral process with the announcement of the election outcome, the inauguration of a new President, and appointment of Chief Executive, and the conclusion of the bilateral security agreement and NATO status of forces agreement that will enable and reinforce our strategic partnership and our commitment to support a future of stability in Afghanistan,” said Earnest. (Kerry statement)