By Mick Krever, CNN
After months of deadlock over its presidential election, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that the country is “on the right track” to forming a unity government.
“Today the president” – Hamid Karzai – “met with leaders figures of the country, and tomorrow these figures, these leading personalities are slated to talk to both candidates to encourage them to reach a final agreement as soon as possible,” Mohammad Daud Yaar said.
Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is in a stalemate with former Finance Minister and World Bank executive Ashraf Ghani. Both claim they won April’s presidential election.
In a bid to end the standoff, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a deal that will, all hope, lead to a unity government.
The two candidates, Yaar said, are up to the task of forming a government.
“They have the political foresight, the technical capacity, and the experience to be able to work together effectively. And on the other side, there is no other choice.”
“Anybody who is in politics nowadays in Afghanistan, they know that there is no other choice except national unity government that functions on the basis of a broad-based consensus. And this is what they are trying to do.”
The ambassador acknowledged that he had heard reports that Ghani leads the vote count, but said that who wins the vote count – and becomes president – is less important than the terms by which the unity government is formed.
Meanwhile, of course, Afghanistan is still waging a war with the Taliban. Advances made during the summer fighting season mean that the group now threatens parts of Helmand Province.
“The Taliban see an opportunity in the uncertainties that we face today,” Yaar conceded.
“I personally am confident that once the new government is in place, their false expectations will go away and they will realize that the only way for them to be successful is to engage in negotiations and reconciliation.”