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New Hopes For Peace After Loya Jirga

by Admin Insight

The consultative Loya Jirga, the grand assembly of over 3,400 delegates, on Sunday ended with high hopes among key political leaders for a peaceful future, with intra-Afghan negotiations expected within the next few days.  

The Jirga was unexpectedly supported by Afghan political leaders like former president Hamid Karzai, former deputy chief executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, former head of the High Peace Council Mohammad Karim Khalili and former Mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, who all attended the closing ceremony on Sunday.  

Addressing the ceremony, the hopeful Karzai said he is full of feeling about the outcome of the Jirga delegates’ decision – on the release of the high-value 400 Taliban prisoners that was the key hurdle for the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations. 

“As the head of the Jirga said, negotiation wants patience, time, planning… All were provided by your decisions,” Karzai said. “Some of us had worries about what will be done for peace, what will happen to the rights of Afghan women and children and education, what will happen to the freedoms that we have achieved, to the freedom of speech… Be sure, peace adds to this blessing for us. All Afghan children will go to school.” 

Karzai said that everything will improve with peace and that Afghanistan wants friendly relations with its neighbors and the international community.  

“I call on the Taliban movement, as I have called them brothers earlier, to stop war, do not continue war, today the Jirga of Afghanistan has provided the opportunity for you. Start talks so that there are friendly and brotherly relations between us so that we can live together in this country,” Karzai said.  

He added: “I also hope that there is no war from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s side. It was well mentioned in your resolution… I am so excited and full of feeling… With the blessing of your decision, we will hopefully reach our goal.” 

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation and the chair of the Jirga, in a series of tweets said he is delighted to announce that the closing session of the Consultative Peace Jirga concluded successfully. 

“The majority of the political leaders, leadership and members of the national assembly attended the closing session to express support to the peace-driven agenda of Jirga,” he said.  

He said that Jirga unanimously supported the peace efforts, called for a lasting and dignified peace, approved the release of the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners, called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the start of intra-Afghan talks, and an end to the war.

“I thank the Afghan leaders, politicians, and Consultative Loya Jirga members for their support of peace and for removing the last remaining obstacle to the intra-Afghan talks,” he said.  

Abdullah said he calls on the Taliban to honor their commitment and immediately begin the long-awaited intra-Afghan talks, announce the permanent ceasefire, abandon violence and demonstrate willingness to resolve the current issues through peaceful dialogue. 

President Ashraf Ghani in Sunday’s closing speech to the Loya Jirga members said he would today sign the decree to free the 400 remaining Taliban. 

He also said that the Jirga sends a message of unity, and commitment to the Constitution of Afghanistan, and a unified voice for peace, adding that today the Jirga has made history and the Jirga declaration reflects the views of the entire nation and the government. 

Ghani said the Jirga proved that the Afghan nation and govt have good intentions for peace and that there will be no compromise by the Afghan security forces. 

“Not making a decision under current circumstances is a crime. Afghanistan needs movement in this current situation. Everyone should get together and work collectively and make basic and strong decisions to strengthen the nation and the government,” Ghani said.  

The Jirga delegates issued a 25-article resolution in which they approved the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners but asked the group to agree to a ceasefire and start the intra-Afghan negotiations.  

Some politicians, including Hizb-e-Islami’s leader and also Jamiat-e-Islami’s deputy leader Ahmad Zia Massoud, however, did not attend the Jirga and called it symbolic.

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