They items on agenda are: reconciliation with insurgents and the war-devastated country’s future relationship with the United States. This won’t be an easy task to address and, moreover, quite impossible to reach a consensus. But the fact that the jirga is sponsored by the government and faces a backlash from the Taleban, and the like, speaks of how deepened is politics, and how tricky is the path to rapprochement.
Kabul has hosted similar jirgas in the past as well, but has been unable to strike the proper chord of peace, basically owing to the fact that the Pakhtoon militia has not been on board. How different would be its fate this time is, however, not difficult to guess.
Irrespective of what political connotations the jirga will have, the event has hit snags with the reported leakage of its security plan. The Taleban claim that they are in possession of a master plan, which lays out the sitting arrangement and entourage details of dignitaries. The militia has also vowed to sabotage the event, as they term it as a ‘slave jirga’. The point is: if the Taleban had ever laid their hands on such a blueprint what prompted them to declare in public of its possession? May be, the Taleban want to embarrass the government by making a point that they have enough recourse to be privy to such state-held secrets and the security apparatus has been infiltrated. This development needs to be watched out, as there could be a slip between the lip and the cup. Kabul’s stance that the plan with Taleban is fake is unacceptable. What if it works out to be true, and the jirga is attacked?
The administration in cooperation with the Coalition forces could do well by truly addressing the security concerns, and ensuring that no room is left open for any possible sabotage activity.
The transition phase in Afghanistan is likely to see many such upheavals. President Hamid Karzai may have exhibited his democratic credentials by inviting the jirga, but the fact is that his dispensation is ages away from genuine peace. Washington’s strategy is infected with dichotomy, as it claims to talk and fight with the opposition elements in one breath. Neither it has worked, not will it. The solution lies in doing away with carrot and stick policy and getting across the message categorically that diplomacy should be given a fair chance to win.
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