Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Post-Loya Jirga Scenario


Post-Loya Jirga Scenario

Loya Jirga ended in Kabul but it brought with itself many controversies and ridicules, as well. From the very question of its legitimacy to the superstitious number 39 and the metaphor of lion, there were different issues that made the jirga the center of interest for four days. The basic question was whether the jirga was democratic or not because Afghanistan now claims to be a democratic country so if it continues having decision making through some institutions that are formed without the consent of the people through an election process, would it still remain democratic or not?

Though, President himself has mentioned that the decision taken by the jirga will have to be approved by the parliament, yet it is yet a 'promise'. Nonetheless, the jirga has given the president Karzai a stronger position from where he would be able to negotiate the strategic deal with US.

However, if the president keeps on taking support of such institutions and keep on strengthening them it would be very difficult for him to get the support of those who favor democracy and democratic institutions and represent a democratic country.

One of the strongest reasons that have been used to favor the Loya Jirga is that it has been a traditional institution in Afghanistan and has had the support of sacred values. But, traditionally there have been many factors that have been the part of Afghan society, yet they have proved very much negative for the development of society.

So, it has been important for the society to get rid of them or to alter them in accordance to the overgrowing necessities of life so that they should be updated and do not become obsolete. The jirgas, no doubt, have been important in Afghanistan history, yet they need a lot of amendment so that they qualify to become a part of decision making in Afghan strategic partnership.

If Afghans are not ready to give up the jirgas they have to incorporate them in some way or the other in the democratic system. The jirgas that are based on the institution of inheritance and function on the basis of religious dogmas do not qualify to represent the Afghan people, not at least in strategic decision making process.

The current jirga in Kabul did not qualify to be democratic, and would definitely start playing negative role in Afghanistan's democratic evolution if its decisions are not put forward to parliament and the decision of parliament is not considered decisive.

However, one important question has to be raised at this instant and that is, "If ultimately the decision has to be made by the parliament, why the question of strategic partnership is not directly put in parliament for discussion?" The answer of this question would prove a bit difficult to answer for the organizers of the jirga but it clearly shows that president Karzai has some intentions of being able to use the jirga in some way or the other for his political purposes in the future, so keeping it alive, in some way or other, may prove beneficial for him.

In actual sense there was not very controversial discussion in the jirga as the members had already come with the intentions of agreeing with the ideas. It may, at the same time, be doubted that many of them understood the political dynamics involved in a strategic partnership with the US.

However, majority of the jirga members gave their consent for the strategic partnership with the conditions highlighted by president Karzai. "In order to protect the achievement of the last 10 years and given the political situation in the region, a strategic partnership with the United States is considered to be necessary for the political, economical and military stability of the country," the meeting's final resolution said.

But that agreement would require the US to agree to a complete halt of night raids, and end to the artibrary jailing of Afghan suspects, the closure of all American detention centers in Afghanistan and the transfer of all Afghan detainees to government-run prisons, according to the resolution, which was issued on the fourth and last day of the council. The non-biding resolution also said that any future pact should last 10 years and that Afghan security forces should lead all security efforts beyond 2014.

It added that Americans should commit to training and playing a supportive role. It also said that the US should help Afghanistan build its capacity to run its own affairs, rather than create parallel administrative structures to handle contracting and other planning responsibilities.

President Karzai also mentioned that he did not expect that the jirga would agree with the presented views about the strategic partnership with US, he was pleased to see the reaction of the jirga members.

Now that the jirga has ended there are questions about how the parliament is going to react. Definitely, the parliament has to make its decision regarding strategic partnership with US before the transition period is completed.

However, it has to rethink about some of the conditions once again. They have to deliberate properly about the possible reaction of the US and the free space they would like to have before they make the deal.

The night raids have been one of the most important parts of US strategy in war against terrorism in the recent years. It is difficult for US to get rid of it, if it stays for long in Afghanistan. The second issue that has to be cogitated upon properly is the possible reaction of the neighboring countries that have been considering the presence of US troops in Afghanistan as a threat to their security.

But above all, the national interests of the country itself should never be overlooked. It is important that there should be strategic deal with US regarding the future of the country as Afghan forces, Afghan political system and economy are in need of consistent support before they are able to stand on their own while the wave of terrorism seems to be enlarging in the last few years.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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