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Ghani Says Afghan Unity Government Will Bring Peace

Ashraf Ghani
Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan's President-elect Ashraf Ghani says the goal of the country's new unity government is "peace."

Speaking to supporters in Kabul on September 22, he called on the Afghan people to take an active part in bringing peace to Afghanistan, saying: "Let's leave the past behind and look forward to the future."

In his nationally televised remarks, Ghani also said Afghanistan should celebrate its first "democratic transfer of power."

"This is a big victory for the Afghan nation that for the first time in our bright history, power is transferred from one elected president to another president based on the nation's votes," he said.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission on September 21 named Ghani as the winner of the country's second round June presidential vote, but did not provide a final tally for the disputed poll.

The announcement came after Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal under which Ghani becomes president and Abdullah is to take a new position known as chief executive officer or propose someone for it.

Ghani promised that his government would represent all the Afghan people, saying: ‘We will not follow the exclusion policy. Those who were our rivals yesterday, are our colleagues today."

"We are the servants of this nation," he added.

Afghanistan's Taliban militants on September 22 called the government of national unity a "sham" orchestrated by the United States and vowed to press on with their war.

"Installing Ashraf Ghani and forming a bogus administration will never be acceptable to the Afghans," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement sent to journalists.

Washington has praised the power-sharing deal.

A White House statement on September 21 said it will help bring "closure" to the country's political crisis and restore "confidence in the way forward."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal is a "moment of extraordinary statesmanship."

He added that Abdullah and Ghani have put "the people of Afghanistan first, and they've ensured that the first peaceful democratic transition in the history of their country begins with national unity."

Outgoing president Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said on September 21 that Ghani is due to be sworn in as president within a week.

Faizi also said one of Ghani's first acts would be to sign a long-delayed bilateral security agreement with the United States to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters