President Ghani’s Special Envoy Umer Daudzai, who also heads the committee assigned for holding the Grand Consultative Jirga on Peace, at a press conference on Saturday briefed media on developments in preparations to hold the event on April 29.
Daudzai said delegates from all districts, even districts under Taliban influence, will be invited to attend the Jirga – which is an assembly of almost 2,500 delegates, 30 percent of the women, from across the country who will decide on the future path towards peace as well as the red lines in the talks with the Taliban.
Daudzai, who is also head of the High Peace Council’s secretariat, said they are trying to build wide political consensus on the Jirga so that all political parties can warmly attend the event and cooperate in moving forward the efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
“We give importance to political parties’ views and we use them in our activities,” Daudzai said. “We are trying to create a wide political consensus under government among political parties (on the Jirga) so that all of them are satisfied with their participation in the Jirga.”
He mentioned that they are in contact with the political parties and are listening to their concerns and complaints about any issues around the Jirga.
“Our goal is to make the Jirga all-inclusive,” Daudzai said, adding that the High Peace Council is in contact with political parties and that they have not had any serious complaint so far.
Last month, the High Peace Council and the Afghan government suggested that the Qatar meeting – where Afghan politicians will meet with Taliban members on April 14 and 15 – should be held after the Jirga, which is scheduled for April 29.
Daudzai says discussions are underway with Afghan politicians and US officials in order to decide whether to hold the Jirga or the Qatar meeting first.
“These issues have been discussed with Afghan politicians and the US officials,” he said.
Daudzai, meanwhile, responded to a question about Afghanistan-US relations and said the two countries need to have good relations and those good relations require a good environment of information sharing.
“About Afghanistan-US bilateral relations. We are two allies which we cannot stand distanced from each other. Good relations are a need and for good relations, sharing information is a need,” he said.
The High Peace Council announced last week that the 19-member committee’s structure for holding the Jirga has been completed. However, there have been some criticisms against the formation of the committee.
Daudzai said differences on the formation of the commission is natural.
This comes as the Ministry of Finance confirmed to TOLOnews that the peace Jirga will cost Afs369 million – almost $5 million.
Daudzai said that they have already vowed that they will share with the people the expenses of the Jirga after it ends.