Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has revealed the appointed members and leadership of the High Council for Afghan National Reconciliation in a bid to push peace talks further.
The presidential degree issued late Saturday night said that the aim of the appointment of these national-level politicians was to create a national consensus to lead the peace talks.
High-profile politicians, leaders of political parties and renowned religious leaders were among the members of the council.
The decree tasked the high council with forming the general assembly of the council within a week from leading religious scholars, members of parliament, provincial councillors, the private sector, renowned politicians and people from the Afghan media.
There was only one woman in the council leadership, which provoked criticism.
The head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Shaharzad Akbar, said that the leadership and membership of the council lack women and young people. "What message does this send about inclusivity as a key principle?" she tweeted.
Kabul-based journalist Bilal Sarwari said that the list was missing war victims. "This is a very elitist approach," he tweeted.
The high council for national reconciliation is a separate entity that oversees the 21-member negotiation team created for face-to-face talks with the Taliban.
Despite the efforts, the beginning of the planned peace talks has faced some serious challenges on the ground.
On Saturday, the Afghan government once again insisted it has no plan to release the remaining 320 hard-core Taliban members it agreed to release under an earlier deal until its own 22 commandos are released by the Taliban.
The Taliban meanwhile has repeatedly said it will not enter into peace talks with the Afghan government until their remaining 320 prisoners are freed.
The government has already released 4680 Taliban prisoners, while the militants say they have kept their side of a deal with the US by releasing 1000 pro-government prisoners.