Loya Jirga concluded with a 23-point peace proposal

The consultative peace Loya Jirga has concluded today, with issuing a 23-point declaration regarding the peace process. The declaration is non-binding for the government, yet President Ashraf Ghani assured the participants that the Jirga’s recommendations will be implemented. The declaration called for renunciation of violence by the Taliban, announcement of a permanent ceasefire by both warring sides immediately, preparing the ground for release of prisoners from both sides, safeguarding the country’s Islamic Republic system, protecting the constitution, and amending the constitution – if at all needed – as per the prescribed laws.  The secretary of the jirga, Atifa Tayeb, read the final statement calling on the Taliban to agree:

“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban should accept the voice of the majority of the Afghan people and immediately announce a permanent ceasefire as a mark of respect for people’s aspirations [for peace], for the holy month of Ramadan, in order to end the violence and build trust between the two sides.”, she said.

At the closing ceremony of this Jirga President Ashraf Ghani, has announced the release of hundred-and-seventy-five Taliban prisoners, as a goodwill gesture. Mr. Ghani said he would also accept the traditional council Loya jirga’s demand for a ceasefire — if the Taliban did too. President Ghani said that the declaration would be a roadmap for the Afghan government in the peace process.

The Jirga, held in Kabul since 29 April to advise the government regarding the terms and conditions of peace talks with the Taliban, concluded after issuing a 23-point declaration regarding the peace process today, 3 May.

The Taliban, currently holding talks with the US in Doha, denied negotiating with the Afghan government. In a statement, the group said: “negotiating with the government while invasion continues is pointless”.

 

The Jirga chief urged Taliban, government to reconcile

The chairman of the Jirga, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, urged both sides to reconcile and end their differences over the interpretation of Islam in order to resolve the country’s crisis.

Afghanistan’s former jihadi leader and the chairman of the Loya Jirga on peace, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf has urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to reach reconciliation. He made the remarks while opening the Jirga’s concluding session today 3 May.

Addressing the Jirga, Mr. Sayyaf said that all the Afghan people are determined to bring peace to the country. “We have made a decision to reconcile and we are committed to bringing peace in the country,” the TV showed the Jirga’s chairman as saying.

“It is my request to the anti-government insurgents – the Taliban movement – to end their hostility for the sake of God. Because holding grudges against each other is not a characteristic of the people who deserve paradise,” he further said.

Hinting at some political leader’s decision to boycott the event, Sayyaf said that all of the Afghan politicians, members of the Jamiat-e Islami party, including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, and former president Hamid Karzai, wholeheartedly want peace. However, he said that they could not attend the Jirga due to some misunderstandings.

He has also thanked the residents of Kabul for their patience in the wake of elaborate security measures and traffic restrictions that caused a near lockdown situation in the city, the organizers of the Jirga and the security forces for ensuring the security of the Jirga.

 

The third day of US – Taliban Talks in Doha

The US and the Taliban negotiators continue their discussions for the third day of the 6th round of peace talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar.  “In our opening session, I underscored to the Talibs that the Afghan people, who are their brothers & sisters, want this war to end,” Khalilzad said in a tweet. “Peace will require that we find common-ground on four inter-connected issues: troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism assurances, intra-Afghan dialogue & negotiations, and reduction in the violence leading to a comprehensive ceasefire,” he added. In our opening session, I underscored to the Talibs that the Afghan people, who are their brothers & sisters, want this war to end. It is time to put down arms, stop the violence, & embrace peace’’.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a series of sharp tweets in response. “@US4AfghanPeace (Khalilzad’s twitter handle) should forget about the idea of us putting down our arms,” he said. “Instead of such fantasies, he should drive the idea home (to the U.S.) about ending the use of force and incurring further human and financial losses for the decaying Kabul administration.” He said the United States must stop repeating failed strategies while expecting different outcomes. “It would be better if @US4AfghanPeace musters the courage to call a spade a spade, not a gardening tool & accept the current realities.”

 

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