The Traditional Loya Jirga has overwhelmingly supported presence of American troops beyond 2014 and approved of the proposed US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership agreement. More than 2000 hand-picked delegates participated in a gathering criticized by the opposition groups. The Traditional Loya Jirga issued a 72-article resolution with recommendations and conditions about the US military installations as under discussion in the proposed strategic partnership agreement.
The resolution also demanded of the US and Afghanistan to pursue "serious talks" with Taliban leadership.
President Karzai in his conclusion speech said the resolutions were "comprehensive and acceptable". He praised the role of Afghan National Security Forces, who failed intense Taliban attempts to hit the Jirga.
Insurgents, as expected, have rejected the Traditional Loya Jirga saying presence of foreign troops will provoke regional sensitivities. In their statements, the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami said the Jirga was not representative of the Afghans.
However, the 72-article resolution of the Jirga after 4 days do not recommend anything new than what President Karzai has already said. Regardless of the fact that these recommendations have no legal importance, the final decision has to be taken in the parliament, where opposition to the strategic partnership agreement with the US is nil. The Traditional Loya Jirga was nothing more than a political show by President Karzai staged for political bargaining and setting grounds for future manipulations.
Though most of the resolutions are a repetition of the "conditions" for the strategic agreement declared by President Karzai in his inauguration speech, there are some ridiculous points to be mentioned. One resolution from the Jirga recommends that documents of the US-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement should be presented at the United Nations.
This article in the resolution was not clear, but it was suggesting that the UN should be privy to the US-Afghanistan agreement. It is an agreement between two countries, not between Afghanistan and the world that the UN should be involved. We hope the parliament will reject this ridiculous recommendation.
The Jirga also recommended that the strategic partnership agreement should be finalized as soon as possible and effective from the day it is signed. This agreement is mainly about presence of US troops beyond 2014, how could it be effective before that?
The US Embassy in Kabul has welcomed the approval of strategic partnership agreement proposal by the delegates of the Traditional Loya Jirga. They said, "We were heartened that the majority of its delegates expressed their support for a long-term US-Afghan partnership".
Meanwhile, there was a small protest demonstration of a few hundred students chanting slogans against the endorsement of the strategic partnership agreement with the US. They were all University students who blocked Kabul-Jalalabad highway yesterday morning.
Even if the political opposition groups were against a manipulated Jirga, they support the strategic partnership agreement with the US. All the three major groups in the opposition block—National Front, Hope and Change and the newly found Right and Justice Party.
Similarly, there is an overwhelming support in the parliament as well. Its rights of those university students to stage a protest, but its more than obvious that a huge majority of our nation supports the agreement with and presence of US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.