Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 14th, 2018

Loya Jirga on US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership

The traditional Loya Jirga has been convened for mid-November in Kabul to discuss the US-Afghanistan strategic pact and talks with insurgents. The Jirga Commission has beefed up preparations. Some MPs have also filled up forms for participation, which was criticized by the Speaker of the Lower House Ibrahimi saying the Wolesi Jirga had decided that MPs will not participate, and consider the Loya Jirga illegal.

More than 2000 people are expected to attend the Loya Jirga or Grand Assembly. It might be mentioned that it is a traditional Loya Jirga not Constitutional Loya Jirga, which has been authorized by the Afghan constitution and their word is law. Those who are attending the Grand Assembly in November will be MPs, tribal 'elders', 30 percent of provincial council members and representatives of Afghan refugees/Diaspora in Iran, Pakistan, America, Canada and Europe.

The question is, "Why President Karzai is keen to call a Loya Jirga for the US-Afghan strategic partnership and why that ridiculous mantra of talks with Taliban?" There was already such a Jirga which recommended Karzai to go ahead with talks, and now he is going to repeat it once again.

Just recently after the death of Ustad Rabbani by a Taliban suicide bomber, President Karzai had said the talks have been halted. We have a parliament, Lower House and House of Elders, (Wolesi Jirga and Mesharano Jirga) why does the President prefer a gathering of tribal 'elders' over the elected representatives of masses? Besides the fact that constitutionally it will have to be the parliament to approve any such agreement with the US, but President Karzai is bypassing the democratic institutions and reviving the tribal structures.

The participants of the Loya Jirga will be briefed about the event for four days in Kabul ahead of the gathering. These elders are neither political representatives of masses, nor national security experts to understand the essence of and approve the much-needed US-Afghanistan strategic partnership.

President Karzai is just wasting the time and striking at the democratic institutions of Afghanistan by ignoring the parliament. The Lower House and House of Elders should boycott the Loya Jirga and strongly react against the autocratic moves of President Karzai taking the country towards a monarchy.

The parliament should be the only institution to approve any such national accord with a foreign country. The strategic partnership with the US is in the very national interest of Afghanistan and our national security. The US troops will need bases to stay after 2014 to train Afghan National Security Forces and avoid the return of civil war in the country.