Ghani appoints critics to avoid interim govt: politicians

Some Afghan politicians said on Sunday that President Ashraf Ghani has cultivated new friendships with some of his critics in order to avoid an interim government and to stay in power.

This comes after Ghani appointed Mohammad Mohaqiq, head of the Wahdat-i-Islami Party, as his senior political and military adviser and introduced Rahila Dostum as a member of the Wolesi Jirga (Upper House of Parliament).

Mohaqiq’s appointment comes after a reported “cold shoulder” in the past after not having been invited to the Presidential Palace for any meetings.

“All political parties think that an interim government should be established. If Ghani thinks that he will be in power for four year it may be a reason for the appointments,” said Sattar Murad, a leading member of Jamayat-e-Islami party.

Sources close to Mohaqiq said that the move to appoint him was based on his abilities and role in the peace process.

“Well-known figures in the current situation, Afghanistan needs unity in this time. I think it is the root of the issue,” said Zahir Wahdat, deputy head of the Wahdat-i-Islami Party.

This comes after some Afghan politicians called this week for the establishment of an interim government for the sake of the peace process.

However some politicians have said government and the Taliban should agree to keep the structure but change the leadership.

“Both sides should agree to a government with no changes in the current government system,” said politician Wahidullah Sabawoon.

Rahmatulluh Nabil, former head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), is one public figure to call for an interim government but said the government structure should remain the same.

The Presidential Palace has not commented about the recent appointments but on Saturday vowed to retain Afghanistan as a republic and only hand over power to an elected successor.