Afghan reconciliation council meets for first time, appeals for 'permanent peace'

Afghan political leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani and chief peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah, Saturday attended the first meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) in Kabul

Dec 05, 2020
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Afghan political leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani and chief peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah, Saturday attended the first meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) in Kabul. 

The meeting comes days after the European delegation and envoys of the US and UK criticized the Afghan government over the delay in the operationalization of the council.  

Addressing the meeting,  HCNR chairman Abdullah Abdullah said from now on the council leadership will meet regularly to discuss the peace process. 

“The people of Afghanistan demand peace, and an end to war, violence, and bloodshed. We have to end the war and open a new peaceful chapter in our country. I do not have any personal agenda in seeking peace. My aim and only aim is a permanent peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

Abdullah also said they are ready to discuss all issues with the Taliban but also emphasized the importance of “unity, consensus, and inclusivity in words and actions.” 

“The first demand of the people of Afghanistan is the reduction of violence, and a permanent ceasefire,” said Abdullah Abdullah. 

President Ghani stressed the importance of consultation as the negotiation with the Taliban enters into a crucial phase. He said our requirement is clear that it is an agreement on a roadmap of peace.  Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who also attended the meeting, said, “The meeting is a good step for peace which is also the demand of all Afghans.” 

Multiple reports in the Afghan press also indicated that there is still a tussle going on between President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah over the selection of members in the council. 

The peace process should be “taken out of the two electoral teams,” and it is a national process, said former vice-president Yunus Qanooni, in an indirect reference to the tussle between former presidential rivals: Ghani and Abdullah. 

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