Kerry Attends Second Day of Talks Over Disputed Presidential Elections
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting with rival Afghan presidential candidates for a second day as the United States struggles to find a path out of the nation’s election crisis. Kerry met Saturday with the candidates, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, after discussions Friday proved inconclusive. He is grappling for a plan acceptable to all that would allow the United Nations to audit extensive fraud allegations in last month’s vote.
The bitter dispute over who should succeed President Hamid Karzai has alarmed Afghanistan’s U.S. and Western benefactors, creating a political crisis that risks undermining more than a decade of efforts to build an Afghan government capable of fighting the Taliban on its own and snuffing out terrorist groups like al-Qaida. If both Ghani and Abdullah attempt to seize power, the government and security forces could split along ethnic and regional lines. And the winner amid all the chaos could be the Taliban.