One of two contestants in Afghanistan's deadlocked presidential election has told The Associated Press that a U.S.-brokered deal for a full ballot audit pulled the country back from the brink and put government legitimacy back on track.

Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghazi Ahmadzai, speaking Monday in his first interview since the agreement last week with his rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, said the deal laid the foundation for a national unity government.

Ahmadzai said he and Abdullah will meet Tuesday to begin fleshing out the framework for that government with participation from both camps and all communities. He is determined Afghanistan will not be torn apart as during the 1990s.

"Afghanistan is not Iraq. What happened in the last days should show you our commitment to inclusiveness," he said.