KABUL - Loya Jirga Chairman Prof. Sibghatullah Mujaddedi said on Wednesday Afghanistan needed a strategic cooperation pact with the United States to prevent foreign meddling. Foreign interference prodded Afghanistan to enter a strategic cooperation agreement with the US, the former president told participants of the four-day Jirga. The enemies of the country, who killed Afghans on a daily basis, came from Pakistan, he alleged.
Blaming the world for its wrong policy over the past 15 years, Mujaddedi said: "We have no complaint about the Pakistani people, but some elements in the Pakistani government pose a threat to the entire world."
The international community should equip Afghan security forces, he said, stressing the 'ISI must know it could not establish a puppet government by killing innocent Afghans.
The chairman, his two deputies, as many secretaries and a spokesperson for the traditional Jirga were appointed earlier in the morning. Advisor to President on Islamic Affairs Naimatullah Shahrani was named the first deputy chairman.
Presidential Advisor on Tribal Affairs Mohammad Arif Noorzai was appointed as second deputy chairman, with First Deputy Chairman of Meshrano Jirga Mohammad Alam Yazidyar and Hayatullah Belaghi chosen as secretaries.
Safia Siddiqui was named as spokeswoman for the four-day Jirga. The deputy chairmen, secretaries and spokesperson were proposed by Mujaddedi and approved by participants.
Preparatory commission head, Mohammad Sadiq Mudabir, said participants of the two-session Jirga would be divided into 40 working committees.
All sitting parliamentarians, some former MPs, 30 percent members of each provincial council, representatives of civil society and special people, religious scholars and influential tribal elders are attending the gathering at the Polytechnic Institute.
Up to 120 Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 80 in Iran and 30 others in US, Canada and some European countries are also be in attendance.
Some people and political parties termed the meeting as unconstitutional, saying it is in contradiction to the Jirga defined in the Constitution. About 77 lawmakers announced on Wednesday their boycott of the event.
They include the Hope and Change Coalition led by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the newly established Afghanistan National Front, headed by Gen. Abdur Rashid Dostum, prominent Hazara Leader and MP from Kabul Muhammad Mohaqiq and ex-vice president Ahmad Zia Masood, as well as the National Unity Front.
Under Article 65 of the Constitution, the president can call for a referendum on important national, political, social as well as economic issues. The referendum shall not be contrary to the provisions of this Constitution or require its amendment.
The insurgents say the Jirga has been convened on foreigners' dictates.