President Ashraf Ghani in a decree on Monday assigned a commission, led by Umer Daudzai, the head of the High Peace Council’s Secretariat, to convene the Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace on April 29.
The Jirga, which is a traditional assembly of Afghan delegates from all layers of the society, was initially scheduled for March 17. According to the High Peace Council, almost 2,000 delegates, 30% of them women, will attend the Jirga.
The decree says the Jirga provides a major national platform for representatives of the people from all over the country to respond to some fundamental questions in a friendly and free environment which will include, the scope and framework of talks with the Taliban movement and clarifying the modality of achieving peace.
In line with the views of the representatives of the people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the decree says, the Jirga will determine the peace and the negotiations policy and it will try to implement it by using all government and national resources.
“President (Ashraf Ghani) in a decree on consultative Jirga on peace has appointed Mr. Umer Daudzai as chairman the Jirga’s organizing commission and has directed the commission to convene the Loya Jirga on 9th of Sawr (April 29),” President Ghani’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who addressed the Council of Ministers’ meeting on Monday, said the Afghan people have serious concerns over the nature of peace talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha because of not having information about the nature of these talks.
The talks entered their 15th day on Monday but the details of the negotiations have not been made public so far.
“The peace talks which are ongoing between the United States and the Taliban, on one hand the people of Afghanistan are hopeful, but on the other, they have concerns over these talks because of not having information about the aspects of these talks,” said Abdullah.
Abdullah said that some elements inside the Taliban are still thinking about the establishment of an emirate.
“I want to reassure the people of Afghanistan that at this stage there will no negligent or weakness as it is associated to the future of every citizens of this country,” said Abdullah, referring to the concerns among Afghans about the Taliban’s comeback.
Some politicians, meanwhile, said they are skeptical about the nature of backdoor talks between the US and the Taliban.
“The Jihadi and the resistance personalities exist on the frontline of peace. But lets not forget that ignoring this zone (Jihad and resistance) will not take us to a just peace,” said former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni.
The government finalizes the date for the peace Jirga at a time that the Taliban has constantly refused to engage into direct talks with the Afghan government and the group instead branded it as a “puppet”.
The Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid also criticized the Taliban for not talking to the Afghan government and said the group is acting based on the will of its supporters.
“Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are ready to support peace efforts and, meanwhile, they are ready to defend the country and allow no one to "destabilize" the country,” he said.
He said Afghanistan will never step back.
Ghani initially proposed holding such a Jirga in February which according to him will disucuss the issue of peace with the Taliban.
“At the Jirga, people will hold discussions on the nature of the peace talks and the post-peace government in Afghanistan,” Ghani said last month.