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Afghan President Ghani ‘hindering’ peace deal with Taliban – election rival

An influential former adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, now a leading electoral rival, has accused his old boss of hampering peace with the Taliban by blocking efforts to include a broad range of voices in the process. Mohammad Haneef Atmar, a former national security adviser once seen as the second-most powerful man in Afghanistan, accused Ghani of exploiting the uncertainty to gain re-election, Reuters said. Like other candidates, Atmar has called for Ghani to step down in May, when his five-year term ends. It would clear the way for a caretaker government to allow a broader-based approach to the peace process. Ghani’s spokesman, Harun Chakhansuri, said the president had repeatedly called on the Taliban to talk with the Afghan side. “The only person that has a proper plan, road map and initiative for peace is President Ghani,” he said.