Afghan talks on unity government collapse

KABUL - Talks on a power sharing deal between Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, have collapsed, a top leader said on Monday, rekindling fears of ethnic unrest.


Under the terms of a deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the runner-up in the disputed election will name a "chief executive" in a unity government conceived to keep the lid on political tensions.


But Mohammad Mohaqeq, one of Abdullah's vice presidential running mates, told Reuters the two sides could not agree on the powers of the chief executive, blaming the Ghani camp for hardening its position.


"The talks collapsed two days ago. The political process is now at a stalemate, we don't see any way out," Mohaqeq, a leader of the minority Hazara community, said in an interview in Kabul, as a months-long power struggle for a successor to President Hamid Karzai shows no signs of a resolution.


Ghani, a former finance minister and World Bank economist, is a member of Afghanistan's biggest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, who make up of most the population in the south and east.


Abdullah, is part Pashtun and part ethnic Tajik but draws most of his support from Tajiks, the Hazaras and other smaller minorities, largely in the centre and north.

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