Pompeo: Loya Jirga a “Historic Opportunity” for Peace

  • Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration is committed to cooperating with Afghanistan.
  • The United States says it does not want Afghanistan to again pose a terrorist threat to the United States.
  • The Taliban have said the Loya Jirga has no legal status and does not represent the Afghan people.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised the convening of a peace consultative Loya Jirga in Afghanistan, saying he would decide on the immediate release of Taliban prisoners before the start of inter-Afghan peace talks. Pompeo urged participants “to take advantage of this historic opportunity for a peace that benefits all Afghans.”

Pompeo said:

“The Taliban have also committed to significantly reduce violence and casualties during the talks where the parties will decide on a political roadmap to end the long and brutal war and agree on a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The United States intends to hold the Taliban to these commitments.”

A loya jirga (“grand assembly”) is a special type of jirga, or legal assembly, in Pashtunwali, the traditional code of laws of the Pashtun people. It is mainly organized for choosing a new head of state in case of sudden death, adopting a new constitution, or to settle national or regional issue such as war.

The United States says it urges President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the head of the National Reconciliation High Council, Abdullah Abdullah, other Afghan leaders, and participants in the Loya Jirga to seize this historic opportunity for a peace that benefits all Afghans. It will bring stability to the region and the world.

Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration is committed to cooperating with Afghanistan and that the United States always strives to ensure that Afghanistan has a unified political leadership and is at peace with its neighbors.

“After 40 years of war and bloodshed and destruction, the parties are ready to embark on a political process to reach a negotiated settlement,” Pompeo said. “As ever, the United States seeks a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and its neighbors.” He added that at the same time, “we are committed to reducing the burden on the US taxpayer and the risk to US troops.”

The United States says it does not want Afghanistan to again pose a terrorist threat to the United States. While the decisions of the Taliban and Afghan government negotiating groups will affect the level of future US cooperation in Afghanistan, the United States is committed to a lasting partnership and lasting peace with Afghanistan, the State Department said in a statement.

On the other hand, Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, head of the Loya Jirga’s formation commission, said that before the Jirga was convened, eight members of the previous Jirga had arrived and the participants would discuss the modalities for starting inter-Afghan talks.

“Today we are discussing what steps should be taken to start these talks, what consultations should be held, and how the obstacles that have arisen should be removed.” Mr. Stanekzai added that the decision on the fate of the five Taliban prisoners was important and would pave the way for its implementation.

The Taliban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban’s leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says he does not have the authority to pardon or release six Taliban prisoners involved in serious crimes and has called for a consultative Loya Jirga to discuss their fate.

The Taliban have said the Loya Jirga has no legal status and does not represent the Afghan people, but the Afghan government says an urgent Loya Jirga was needed to bring peace and reduce violence.

Destiny to be Discussed.

The Taliban said in a statement to the media on Wednesday that the country needed peace and mutual understanding among Afghans after reaching an agreement with the United States, and said the parties should not create obstacles in this regard.

The Taliban say the Afghan government could take advantage of the Loya Jirga to oppose peace and the aspirations of the Afghan people. The group also said the jirga had no legal status because, according to them, the Afghan government itself had no legal status.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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