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Afghan talks on unity government collapse; crisis deepens

Published on Sep 2, 2014 3:54 AM
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah talks during an interview with AFP at his residence in Kabul on Aug 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

KABUL (Reuters) - Talks on a power-sharing deal between Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates have collapsed, a top leader said on Monday, rekindling fears of ethnic unrest over disputed election results.

Under the terms of a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the runner-up in the vote was to name a "chief executive" in a national unity government conceived to keep the lid on political tensions.

Mr Abdullah Abdullah was runner-up in the official election results. Mr Mohammad Mohaqeq, one of Mr Abdullah's vice presidential running mates, said the two sides could not agree on the powers of the chief executive, accusing the camp of election winner Ashraf Ghani of hardening its position.

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

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