Afghanistan is in a state of paralysis.
On Monday, the new Afghan President was supposed to be inaugurated. Instead, the country remains in a political deadlock. And on Wednesday, the two presidential contenders pulled their representatives from a United Nations ballot audit.
Is the nation going to be able to take significant steps forward any time soon?
The United States ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, seems to think so.
"There's actually been quite a bit of progress," he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"What they've agreed is that there will be a president; there will be what's called a chief executive officer, not a prime minister, because that position doesn't exist under the Afghan Constitution. It may later, but it doesn't now."
"All the details of how to do that are what they're sorting out right now."
Amanpour asked about the probability of a candidate being inaugurated by the new designated date of September 2.
"I think it's possible," said the diplomat. "It's an important opportunity for a president to be declared and to get him on to the international stage at the NATO summit a few days later."
"We'll keep trying to help them reach that goal."
'There are charges and allegations on both sides'
Accusations of fraud have haunted the recent elections and are to blame for the stalled inauguration.
In the first round of voting, Abdullah Abdullah was the clear victor, with many accounts stating he was almost 2 million votes clear of other challengers.
However, by the end of the second round, another winner had emerged: Ashraf Ghani. Amanpour asked the ambassador if what had happened could have occurred without fraudulent voting.
"There was fraud committed on both sides," Cunningham told her. "We know that from various sources and various kinds of evidence. But we don't know how much. There are charges and allegations on both sides that I'm not in a position to pass judgment on at this point."
Candidates withdraw from ballot auditing
Abdullah's side is now refusing to take part in the audit and invalidation of votes process, Mujib Rahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah's Reform and Partnership team, said Wednesday.
He added that no observer from the team had gone to the elections commission Wednesday and that if a technical demand is not met, the team will not return to the process.
Ghani has given observation responsibility of the Afghan presidential runoff vote audit to the United Nations, Mohammad Daud Sultanzoi, a spokesman for Ghani's Change and Continuity team, said Wednesday.
He said that because Abdullah's team boycotted the process, the U.N. asked Ghani's team to withdraw its observers from the process, too. The aim is for the U.N., the international and national observers to take over and complete the process.
Sultanzoi said the U.N. didn't want only one side to be present and the other one absent. He added that his team was not happy with the change but respected the U.N.'s request and withdrew.
Amanpour asked if the United States is worried about what could happen if the two candidates cannot resolve their differences, move forward and create a government.
Do they worry that, as in other parts of the world, others could take advantage of the situation to to create an interim government and take power?
"There are reports and there have been threats and we take them seriously," the ambassador told her.
"We've been very vocal about the fact that there needs to be an Afghan government, that's created through the legitimate and constitutional process, and that we won't support any actions outside of the constitution and the legal process."
"That's what the Afghan political class and the Afghan people should be focused on. It's that kind of government that will have the support of a broad spectrum of Afghan opinion. But very importantly, it's only a government that comes out of a constitutional process that will have this kind of support."