On May 16, 2020, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing agreement to form a government, ending a months-long political standoff and granting the Afghan government a degree of stability. The international community welcomed the announcement, with most state actors hoping the unified front will help bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table.
According to press releases, the deal stipulates Ghani will remain President while both men choose an equal number of ministers. Furthermore, Abdullah will lead peace talks with the Taliban should they restart after both sides walked away from the negotiating table.
Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani served side-by-side in the previous administration, but are old rivals who constantly find themselves in opposition to one another. This friction came to a head in Afghanistan’s 2019 election, when Abdullah and Ghani were the top contenders for the Presidency. At the end of Election Day, Abdullah refused to accept his loss, rejected the final tally, and declared himself the President of Afghanistan.
Last week, talks between the Taliban and the government broke down after President Ghani ordered a resumption of offensive operations against the insurgents following an attack on a Kabul hospital. If and when fighting between the two sides begins to ease, Kabul will be in a much better position to make progress in intra-Afghan peace talks. Further, the presentation of a unified front to the international community may unlock more financial and lethal aid from the United States, which had previously cut $1 billion in March and was reportedly considering cutting more due to the Afghan government's failure to resolve its post-election crisis.