Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Monday issued a statement opposing President Ashraf Ghani’s decree officially listing members of the council, saying that according to the political agreement it is the authority of the head of the council to appoint its members.
Abdullah quoted the agreement signed in May, saying: “The head of the High Council of National Reconciliation forms the council in consultation with the president, sides and political leaders, speakers of the houses of parliament, the civil society and elites of the country.”
Therefore, Abdullah said, there is no need for a presidential decree on the formation of the council, and the selection of members falls under the authority of the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
He said the council's structure should be inclusive and represent the nation, and that consultation with political-civil movements has already begun.
Ghani in a decree on Sunday appointed 46 members for the High Council for National Reconciliation, including high-ranking government officials, prominent politicians, women and former mujahideen leaders.
The move, however, faced a backlash from some whose names were on the list, and by others for being left off the list.
Politicians such as former president Hamid Karzai, former foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar rejected their membership in the council.
The council has 10 members in leadership positions.
Political and National Figures as Members
The members of the council announced 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.
High-Ranking Officials as Members
According to the decree, members of the council from the government are First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, National Security Adviser 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 adviser Mawlawi Jora Tahiri.
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, a 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.
According to the decree, the leadership members of the council are Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Salam Rahimi, Enayatullah Farahmand, Asadullah Saadati, Zuhra Mutahari, Atta-Ur-Rahman Salim, Haji Din Mohammad, Akram Khpulwak, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, and Noor-Ul-Haq Olumi.
“The mindset that existed among the Afghan people and among Dr. Abdullah’s supporters is in fact is very different from what is happening,” said Karim Khurram, former presidential adviser.
The Presidential Palace recently said the list of the members of the High Council for National Reconciliation is final, but Sediq Sediqqi, presidential spokesman, at a press conference indirectly hinted that there might be some changes.
“The Afghan government believes in consultation. If individuals or politicians want to be part of the process, the Afghan government will consider advice from consultation,” Sediqqi said.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Pashaee ethnic group, a minority community, said they do not see balance in the structure of the council announced by the president.
“The people of the Pashaee ethnic group has the right to complain. We are upset about this situation,” said Hazrat Ali, an MP.
“We are fed up. We campaigned for you and we want our rights from you,” said Qasim Sanjari, a tribal elder.
Amidst the new developments in the peace process, Abdullah Abdullah met with former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf who was a mediator in resolving the rift between Abdullah and Ghani earlier this year.