Supreme State Council nearing completion: Govt

KABUL (Tolo News): The Afghan government said that the authorities, agenda and working procedures of the Supreme State Council have been finalized and that the council will soon convene its first working meeting. Mohammad Akram Khpolwak, a political aide to President Ashraf Ghani, said that consultations will continue today and tomorrow about the working procedures of the council.

Meanwhile, Jamiat-e-Islami—Salahuddin Rabbani’s faction– has suggested that there should be only a limited number of people in the structure of the council. “The council should a decision-making entity, it should not be a symbolic and consultative body,” said Abdul Fatah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for Jamiat-e-Islami.

“The legal institutions are in their original place, their prestige and authorities have been defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan,” said Latif Mahmoud, a deputy spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani. This comes a day after a member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami party, Humayoun Jarir, blamed the Presidential Palace for not delivering on its promise about the structure and the authority of the Supreme State Council and said that Hekmatyar will not participate in the Supreme State Council as a member.

“The Arg (Presidential Palace) has not followed through on the promises it made in the trilateral meeting with Mr. Hekmatyar and Mr. Karzai,” said Jarir. “We believe that the government is forming the council it wants with its supporters among the members. The Hizb-e-Islami party has never been in the government and will not participate in the Supreme State Council,” said Jarir. “They include someone in the Supreme State Council, but that is symbolic,” said MP Sadiq Qaderi.

“What is their right by law to decide on the fate of the people?” asked one MP Gul Rahman Hamdard. However, the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan led by Marshal Dostum has said that the government has made some pledges to their party about the structure and authorities of the council. “If the government remains committed to what it had pledged before about the structure, which was also leaked in the media, and if it considers balance in the structure, of course, we will support it. If this does not happen, then it will remain incomplete,” said Ehsan Nairo, a spokesman for Marshal Dostum.

According to a document seen by TOLOnews this week, an 18-person list has been prepared for the membership of the Supreme State Council, but the Presidential Palace has said it is not finalized. However, sources familiar with the matter said that besides Hasina Safi and Fatima Gailani, three more women will have membership on the council.

The council was supposed to be formed simultaneously with the High Council for National Reconciliation when Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah signed a political agreement last year. But efforts to form the council have been expedited over the last months. As part of these efforts, President Ghani has met with a number of politicians over the last few weeks.