Afghanistan's President denies attempting to extend term beyond constitutional limits

12 February
Presidential office said that no decision was made to form a council of leadership, with the president's spokesman saying that President Ashraf Ghani would not stay in office 'even one day' beyond what is mentioned in the constitution. Unconfirmed reports said earlier that president Ghani held meetings with jihadi leaders like Karim Khalili, Mohammad Mohaqqeq, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf to prevent the next presidential election by establishing a council of leadership combined of the former jihadi leaders. 'Holding the presidential election is imminent and there is no alternative for that,' said Shah Hussain Mortazawi, president Ghani's spokesman, adding that the president is committed to implement the constitution. Massoud Tarashtwal, spokesman for the council of protection and stability has rejected the formation of the council of leadership as 'illogical and against the constitution'. Mortazawi said that the aim of Ghani's meetings with jihadi leaders was to consult the national and international issues, not the formation of the council. 'We have heard that the government is working to establish a council of leadership. We believe in election as a tool of power transferring,' Tarashtwal said. Meanwhile, Kabir Ranjbar, a lawyer and former parliamentarian, said he doesn't think that rumors about the formation of the council of leadership was true.

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