Afghan Candidates Vow to Back Continued NATO Occupation

Both Promise 'National Unity,' But Details Spotty

Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates sought to reassure NATO today, issuing a statement promising that they will form a “government of national unity,” and reiterating that, whichever wins, they are committed to signing a new troop deal to keep NATO occupation forces in the nation beyond 2015.

The comments were intended to calm NATO during its ongoing summit, which was supposed to hype their “victory” in Afghanistan with the invitation of the Afghan president, but there isn’t one as the count has gone on for months.

Ashraf Ghani is expected to win after his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the audit process. Abdullah produced evidence of substantial ballot stuffing on Ghani’s behalf.

The power-sharing deal was supposed to be all set months ago, but Ghani has suggested he won’t be bound by the terms of that deal. Today’s promise of a unity government seems highly speculative, and nothing, beyond the continued occupation, seems to be resolved.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of