KABUL - Registration has commenced for the participants of the traditional Loya Jirga scheduled to be convened on Wednesday to discuss the pros and cons of a proposed strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and the US and peace mechanism, officials said. Afghan influential figures from across the country, Canada, Norway and Quetta City of Pakistan have reached Kabul to attend the four-day grand assembly at the tent of Loya Jirga in Polytechnic area of capital Kabul, spokeswoman for the preparatory commission of the Jirga, Safia Siddiqui, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Some former and all sitting members of Parliament, 30 percent members of provincial councils, representatives from civil society organisations, private sector, special people, religious scholars and other renowned figures would participate in the gathering to float their suggestions for the strategic relations with the US and setting up a mechanism for peace talks with the rebels, she said, adding the religious leaders and local representatives were introduced by relevant provincial councils.
Up to 120 Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 80 in Iran and 30 others in US, Canada and some European countries would also be in attendance. The jirga, to be also attended by Cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries as guests, will involve 2030 people -- 18 percent of them women.
The attendees were invited to Kabul four days ahead of the scheduled time in order to brief them on the objective behind the grand assembly.
Beside discussions on the US-Afghanistan strategic cooperation agreement and peace mechanism, the participants would also discuss some other key issues, Siddiqui concluded.
Head of moneychangers' union at the Shahzada Money Market, Mohammad Amin Jan Khosti, who signed up for the Jirga, said he was elected by moneychangers and traders to attend the session. The Jirga is important as national issues would be discussed there, he added.
The US had already submitted a draft of the strategic cooperation deal to Afghan government, who returned it back to the US with some amendments to it.
Safeguarding Afghanistan's national interests, an end to nighttime military operations, strict restrictions on international soldiers to avoid harming civilians and legalising their presence are some of the core conditions set by the government for signing the agreement.
Additionally, the agreement should not create problems for other strategic covenants with other countries.
Karzai said the draft agreement would be sent to Parliament for approval after being discussed by the jirga.