The deputy head of the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR), Haji Din Mohammad, on Thursday said that there are still serious political differences between the Afghan government and the political leaders about the establishment of the Supreme State Council.
While the government claims that it is continuing its consultations with the Afghan political leaders about the establishment of the council, close aides to former president Hamid Karzai have said that Karzai and Salahuddin Rabbani, the leader of Jamiat-e-Islami (Rabbani faction), aren’t willing to participate in a consultative and symbolic council.
Afghan political leaders have said in the past that the council must have the authority to make decisions on national issues including Afghanistan’s war, peace, and foreign policy.
“Disagreements still persist on the number of its members and its authorities, they have not reached a conclusion so far,” said Haji Din Mohammad.
Based on the documents seen by the media, the members of the council would be Hamid Karzai, the former president, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, Salahuddin Rabbani, the head of one faction of Jamiat-e-Islami, and fifteen other influential political leaders, although some of these leaders have said they are not willing to join if the role of the council does not meet their expectations.
“No only Mr. Karzai, but I think many other political leaders have decided not to participate because it is meaningless to have a symbolic council,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, a close aide to Karzai.
“Jamiat accepts membership in the council if it would have executive authority, if the council was able to address the issues around peace and war, security and foreign policy,” said Shafiqullah Saighani, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami (Rabbani faction).
“From the day talks started in Doha, no political consensus was forged. The president continues to act in self-interest, he attempts to make the council symbolic, but such a council will not be beneficial to the people,” said MP Abdul Zahir Tamim.
“Consultations are continuing between politicians,” said Latif Mahmoud, a deputy presidential spokesman. “We hope to overcome the disputed issues soon,” he said.
Critics said that Ghani is not willing to establish a council in which other leaders can partake in managing national issues after the withdrawal of foreign forces.
This comes a week after Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR), said the system will collapse if Afghan leaders do not forge a consensus on the issues of national importance.
“There are serious differences,” said Abdullah, referring to the differences between Afghan political leaders.
“There is a need to find systemic solutions for the questions that come from the public—so, ultimately, with the support of the people this ship (political system) is saved from a possible collapse,” said Abdullah.
Politicians believe that the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, and also the political division between leaders, has emboldened the Taliban in its hopes to take power by military means.