have final say on whether the government will sign a peace deal with the Taliban fghanistan’s president appointed a council for national reconciliation, which will after what are expected to be protracted and uncertain negotiations with the insurgents.
More About the National Council for Reconciliation
- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree establishing the 46-member council, led by his former rival in last year’s presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, who is now in the government.
- The council is separate from a 21-member negotiating team, which Ghani appointed in March and which is expected to travel to the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, for the intra-Afghan talks.
- The council will have the final say and will ultimately decide on the points that the negotiating team takes up with the Taliban.
- Abdullah’s appointment to head the reconciliation efforts followed a power-sharing deal he signed in May with Ghani to end the political deadlock after last year’s election, a vote in which Abdullah had also declared himself a winner.
- The High Council for National Reconciliation is made up of an array of Afghan political figures, including current and former officials, and nine women representatives, one of whom was named Abdullah’s deputy.
- Also on the council are mujahedeen and jihadi leaders who fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s but who were also involved in Afghanistan’s brutal civil war that followed their takeover in 1992.
- Among them is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who signed a peace deal with Ghani in 2016 but previously was declared a terrorist by the United States.
- The council also includes Abdur Rasool Sayyaf, who was the inspiration for the Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. During the 1992-1996 civil war, Sayyaf’s fighters killed thousands of minority Shiite Muslims led by a rival warlord.