Two days after the conclusion of the grand assembly of 3,200 delegates from around the country, a number of critics have raised skepticism over the government’s move not to disclose the identities of the participants.
But officials from the organizing committee of the Grand Consultative Jirga for Peace said the government has kept the identity of the delegates secret due to security reasons.
The officials did not reject a possible presence of some government officials in the Jirga.
“There were people from the families of the martyrs, families of war victims, families of the hostages,” said Sayed Ali Kazimi, spokesman of the Peace Jirga’s organizing commission.
“Were the 3,200 delegates the real representatives of the people? Some of them were government employees. Was anyone of them unsatisfied with the (ongoing) situation (in the country)? Were anyone of them able to challenge the government or the head of the National Unity Government?” asked presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil.
“The Jirga delegates from Herat included of the youths, civil society activists, influential figures, tribal elders, women, businessmen and cultural dignitaries who were appointed through elections,” said Farhad Jailani, spokesman to Herat governor.
Defying the critics, the government has persistently said that the Jirga was inclusive.
The grand council which continued for five days was boycotted by almost all presidential candidates and mainstream political parties in the country.
The Jirga was suggested by President Ghani in February in order to determine a framework for peace talks with the Taliban.
President Ghani, who addressed the Jirga’s closing ceremony on Friday, May 3, said he is ready for a ceasefire with the Taliban and that the resolution will change into an action plan for the Afghan government.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who is running for president and who boycotted the Jirga, said that “overall, the issues which were expressed in the Loya Jirga resolution were not new. “We had reasons for not attending the Jirga,” Abdullah said in an interview with Anadolu News Agency on May 3.