The members of the High Council for National Reconciliation include former president Hamid Karzai, ex-mujahideen leaders Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Salahuddin Rabbani, and members of other factions, according to Afghan media.
While the council is seen as a government-appointed body, Karzai has said he “will not be part of any government structure” but that he would continue his endeavors for peace.
At least one general from the ex-communist government is on the list, as are those who fought with the Taliban for nearly three decades.
Ghani is keen to broaden the team that will advise the squad of negotiators ahead of the crucial meeting, the date for which has yet to be finalized.
He has asked religious scholars, parliament, the media and provincial councils to put forward their picks for the council within a week, an indication that the talks are not likely to start in early September.
The setting up of the council has been beset by delays since the signing of a so-called peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington in Doha in February this year.
Intra-Afghan talks should have begun in early March following a prisoner exchange deal between the Taliban and Kabul in line with the February agreement, which also paves the way for a complete withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan by next spring.
According to Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the 48-member team, the talks are scheduled to take place in the coming week.
But the Taliban said the group had made “no such pledge” and that the talks would take place only after Kabul freed “all of its remaining comrades from prison” — a key condition of the February accord.