Kabul, Afghanistan In a further step toward reconciling with insurgents, President Hamid Karzai said Saturday he will soon name the members of a council tasked with pursuing peace talks with rebels willing to break with al-Qaida and recognize the government in Kabul.
Karzai’s announcement was given added poignancy by comments from the outgoing deputy commander of NATO forces in the country that commanders promised too much when they predicted quick success taking the key Taliban-held town of Marjah last winter.
While British Lt. Gen. Nick Parker now sees signs of a turnaround in the turbulent area, he said the military will be more restrained in forecasting success in the future.
The formation of the High Peace Council was approved in June at a national peace conference in Kabul and Karzai’s statement that its membership would be announced next week marks a “significant step toward peace talks,” according to a statement issued by Karzai’s office.
It said members will include former Taliban, jihadi leaders, leading figures in Afghan society and women, but gave no other details.