Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hamid Karzai Sets Up 68 Member High Council For Peace

Hamid Karzai has setup a "high council for peace", consisting of 68 members hand-picked by the president to hold talks with the Taliban and other armed groups.

Al Jezeera reports, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/09/2010928122241286855.html, that the list includes former president and warlord Burhanuddin Rabani, warlords Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayaf and Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, all key figures in the resistance during the 1996-2001 Taliban rule over the country.
These commanders helped the United States and other Western allies topple the Taliban from power in late 2001.

Dozens of pro-government religious leaders, former government officials and tribal elders are also part of the new council, along with at least seven women, Waheed Omer, Karzai's spokesman, said.

Officials said the council would include former members of the Taliban and Hizb-i-Islami, a minor armed group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister and mujahedeen leader.

Hizb-i-Islami is currently in a tenuous alliance with the Taliban, although both sides remain suspicious of each other.

"This council is mandated to broker peace through negotiation and reconciliation" with the Taliban, Omer said.

"The mandate given to the high council for peace is a big mandate. The government will respect their mandate."

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