The Afghan government says that between 2,000 to 4,000 delegates will be invited from different parts of the country to attend the consultative Loya Jirga, a traditional assembly, in Kabul on March 17 and will will determine the red lines for talks with the Taliban after detailed consultations.
President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri at a press conference in Kabul on Saturday said the Jirga delegates will include people from different layers of society, including political parties.
The Jirga will continue for three days from March 17 to March 19, he said.
“They [the High Peace Council] should prepare some notes on the convening of the Jirga and on the mechanism based on which the delegates will be selected and then a decree will be signed based on the notes [prepared by the High Peace Council],” said Chakhansuri.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Qarloq, deputy head of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, also called Junbish-e-Milli, said government has not discussed issues around the Jirga with the political party.
“First, it is necessary to invite those people who are not happy [with government] or those who have lost trust and have been distanced, especially Jihadi leaders as well as political parties and movements,” said Qaraloq.
Humayun Jarir, a spokesman for Hizb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, said the Jirga will not help the peace process because the delegates in the assembly will only provide consultations and cannot do anything more than that.
He said government has consulted them on the Jirga.
“A strong and authorized board should be formed in which the members should the President, the Chief Executive, influential political parties’ leaders and speakers of the parliament and the senate,” said Jarir.
According to the High Peace Council, efforts have been accelerated for holding the Jirga.
“People from different layers of the society will be invited in this Jirga and it will be held similarly to the emergency Loya Jirga,” said Rahim Beg Yaqubi, member of the council.
President Ghani on February 11 called for the Jirga in order to hear the views and opinions of people about peace talks with the Taliban and to determine the redlines that should be respected in the talks.