The Supreme State Council, which the government and political leaders have been working to finalize for the last few weeks, will have the authority to make decisions and provide advice on peace, war and the country’s foreign relations, a senior presidential adviser confirmed on Monday.
Akram Khpulwak, President Ashraf Ghani’s political adviser and the deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said that discussions on the number of members and the structure of the Supreme State Council have been finalized, but talks are underway to decide the date of its first meeting.
Khpulwak said that the number of the council members might be at least 20 people and that the council will have a secretariate as well.
Khpulwak said that efforts are underway to hold the first session of the council in the near future.
“Consultations have been completed. The list has been finalized. And, work is underway on the second part, which is the agenda and procedures for meetings,” he told TOLOnews on Monday.
There were some differences on the details of the authorities of the council, but Khpulwak said that the council will not interfere in governance and legal issues but will work on peace and war matters as well as Afghanistan’s international relations.
“There will be both consultations and discussions to make a shared decision under the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and then the implementation of the decisions will fall to relevant government institutions,” Khpulwak added.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, and Salahuddin Rabbani, the head of the main faction of Jamiat-e-Islami, said they have differences on the details of the formation and the authorities of the council.
“This council includes the president and leaders of important parties of the country--the parties that have an impact on war and peace. Their number cannot be more than eight,” said Humayun Jarir, a member of the leadership council of Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
According to a document seen by TOLOnews, an 18-person list has been prepared for the membership of the Supreme State Council, but the Presidential Palace said it is not final so far. However, sources familiar with the matter said that besides Hasina Safi and Fatima Gailani, three more women will have membership on the council.
“The Supreme State Council or any other council will not be effective unless they have executive authority within the formation of the government,” said Habib-ur-Rahman Pedram, an MP from Herat.
“They are those who plunged Kabul into chaos. We urge them to name it the "council of the state conspiracy," not the Supreme State Council,” said Belqis Roshan, an MP from Farah.
The council was supposed to be formed simultaneously with the High Council for National Reconciliation when Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah signed a political agreement last year. But efforts to form the council have been expedited over the last months. As part of these efforts, President Ghani has met with a number of politicians over the last few weeks.