[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Afghan peace council holds meeting
Panel set up for reconciliation with Taliban holds first session amid criticism over its composition.
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 17:44 GMT



Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has inaugurated the first session of a peace council that he had set up last month to facilitate reconciliation with Taliban and other armed groups.

In his inaugural speech on Thursday, which also happened to be the ninth anniversary of the US invasion, Karzai said a lot was expected of the council.

"The Afghan people in each province, district and village are expecting a lot from this peace council," he said.

"The high peace council is a source of hope for the Afghan people," he said, adding that the international community is supporting the panel.

Karzai has long called on anti-government forces to renounce violence, sever ties with terrorists and embrace the Afghan constitution.

Criticism

However, questions are being raised about the composition of the council.

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton, reporting from the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the presence of several ex-Taliban fighters and warlords in the 70-member council has been criticised by rights groups.

"Human rights activists are saying that the international community shouldn't be backing this high council, it should bring in people who know more about peace and about war," she said.

But close allies of Karzai have justified the council's make-up, saying these are the kind of people that understand what it takes to bring about a compromise. 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.