Abdullah Abdullah, who was authorized by the recent political agreement to lead the newly-established High Council for National Reconciliation, has yet to begin his activities despite two days passing since the deal was signed.
Experts say there is a need for urgency, as the council is responsible for the peace process, which is a priority for Afghanistan right now along with efforts to curb the threat of COVID-19.
Based on the agreement, appointments of the State Ministry for Peace Affairs are done under the auspices of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Abdullah will have five deputies, according to the agreement.
In fact, most parts of the agreement are about the High Council for National Reconciliation.
The council members will be selected by the director in consultation with the president as well as with political leaders, people from the two sides, speakers of the parliament houses and the civil society and elites, according to the agreement.
Also, based on the agreement, Abdullah will lead the peace process and the meetings of the reconciliation council, and he will appoint its members and employees, including the employees of the State Ministry for Peace Affairs.
The council itself has been given the authority to specify, approve and lead all affairs related to the peace process, the agreement says. The decisions and enactments at the council will be made by a majority of votes of its members.
“This agreement takes us closer to achieving peace,” Abdullah said on the signing day. “The other side of the issue is the war that is underway.”
Critics said slogans and pledges have always dominated speeches by politicians but less is done practically.
“We have always raised the voice of convergence, but we have not worked for the national interest,” said Aminullah Hotaki, a political analyst.
The decisions and enactments made by the High Council of National Reconciliation are final and they should be implemented, the agreement said.
The agreement says that the council will provide guidance to the negotiation team through its leadership committee.
The duty of the council is to create a national, regional and international consensus on peace, attract international support for peace, and attract international support and assistance for post-peace reconstruction efforts.
“There is a need to start a big national discussion at the earliest time possible, and, based on this, we should go toward peace,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of the National Directorate of Security, who recently supported the agreement, albeit conditionally.
Based on the agreement, the negotiation team will report to the High Council for National Reconciliation and the president can provide consultations if needed.
According to the agreement, Abdullah will lead the council and he will receive the same security and protocol privileges as the number two person in the country.
The council will be an independent budgetary unit, based on the agreement, and will be funded by the government, but it will also receive financial support from the international community.
The High Council for National Reconciliation will have two sections: (1) The general assembly, and (2) the leadership committee.
“The members of the council will not be able to bring peace to the country if they could not obtain peace among themselves,” said Arash Shahirpoor, a university professor.