Kabul [Afghanistan], Aug 30 (ANI): Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday (local time) approved 48 members of the High Council for National Reconciliation, led by Abdullah Abdullah, in a major development towards preparing for the much-anticipated intra-Afghan negotiations between the government and Taliban to end the two-decades-old war in the country.
In a decree, Ghani asked religious scholars, Parliament, private sector, provincial councils and media to introduce their picks for the membership of the council within a week, TOLOnews reported.
Members of council named in the decree are -- former president Hamid Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former vice president Mohammad Karim Khalili, former deputy chief executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, former vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, former foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani, former mujahideen leader and former minister of energy and water Mohammad Ismalil Khan, former Balkh governor and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami Atta Mohammad Noor, head of Maaz-e-Milli party Sayed Hamid Gailani, Zabihullah Mujaddedi, political and religious figure Sayed Mansoor Nadery, political and religious figure Enayatullah Shahrani, former deputy chief executive and political figure Engineer Mohammad Khan, head of Afghanistan's Ulema Council, former head of the Administrative Office of the President Sadiq Modabir, Mohammad Ismail Ghazanfar and Mawlawi Khodaidad Saleh.
Members of the council from the government include -- First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, Meshrano Jirga Speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, Wolesi Jirga Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani, presidential adviser Almas Zahid, state minister for peace affairs (that has not been appointed so far) and presidential advisor Mawlawi Jora Tahiri, according to the decree.
Women members of the council are -- civil society activist Safia Sediqqi, former MP Najiba Ayubi, a member of the Afghan Women's Network Mari Akrami, civil society activist Zia Gul Rezaee, member of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission Alia Yulmaz, former higher education minister Farida Mohmand, chairperson of medical council of Afghanistan Nasrin Oryakhil and civil society activist Zarqa Yaftali.
The leadership members of the council include -- Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdul Salam Rahimi deputy head of the council, Enayatullah Farahmand deputy head of the council, Asadullah Saadati deputy head of the council, Zuhra Mutahari former deputy governor of Paktia, member of Afghanistan Ulema Council Atta-Ur-Rahman Salim, head of Hizb-e-Islami Nawin Din Mohammad, political figure Akram Khpulwak, head of the negotiation team Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, special presidential envoy Noor-Ul-Haq Olumi, the decree said.
Ghani authorises members of the High Council for National Reconciliation by issuing a decree, according to a political agreement signed between the Afghan President and Abdullah in May.
Based on the agreement, the High Council of Government will be established for ensuring political consensus in Afghanistan. Political leaders and national figures will be the members, according to TOLOnews.
The development comes after Abdullah said on Thursday that intra-Afghan talks are expected to start this week. The first round of negotiations is scheduled to be held in Doha in Qatar. (ANI)