Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan’s Dueling Presidents Pose Risks for U.S. Efforts to End War with Taliban

Afghanistan’s Dueling Presidents Pose Risks for U.S. Efforts to End War with Taliban by Ehsanullah Amiri and Dion Nissenbaum - Wall Street Journal

For the last five years, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s former chief executive officer, had teamed up as uneasy allies in an unity government presiding over a fractured country.

Now they operate out of adjacent palaces, vying for influence and international legitimacy in a power struggle that threatens to torpedo the U.S.’s efforts to extricate itself from a long and costly-war in Afghanistan.

Both men claim to be the rightful leader, after a flawed vote in September that was marred by tainted ballots and allegations of fraud. Mr. Ghani retains firm control over the country’s government, military and international relations. Mr. Abdullah has carved out an island of opposition inside his neighboring Kabul palace.

The standoff is a reminder of an ever-present civil war that has entered the highest echelons of government…

Read on.