Taliban's participation in Bonn conference urged
KABUL(PAN): Afghan civil society groups on Saturday formed a Jirga called "Afghan Civil Society Coordination Jirga," which called for the participation of anti-government fighters in the second Bonn conference, scheduled to be held in Germany later this year.
The Jirga, comprising 49 social, civil society and media organizations, is aimed at forging coordination among the groups about issues of national interests, according to the jirga members, who held their maiden meeting in Kabul on Saturday.
The jirga asked the government to identify agenda of the second Bonn conference. "There are rumours that the conference agenda is either set by foreigners or opposition," Sahira Sharif, a member of the jirga, said.
The international community and some domestic groups have been trying to echo the issue of federal system in Afghanistan, she said, without going into details. "If our demands are not considered, the government would be responsible for whatever happens in the future," she went on to say.
"All civil society groups and common Afghans should be aware of any step and plan to be discussed at the Bonn meeting in order to serve the national interests of the country," Habibullah Rafi, another member of the jirga, said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that agenda for the conference included issues concerning national reconciliation, good governance, preparations for agreements with foreign countries and other contracts.
President Hamid Karzai has warned if Afghans were invited to the moot in groups, his government would stay away from it.
Political analysts also suggest that only Afghan government representatives should attend the conference.
The first Bonn conference was held soon after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. Led by the US, the international community agreed at that conference to establish a transition government in Kabul. It approved Afghanistan's constitution and supported the 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections.
At today's conference, the jirga members insisted that the Taliban should be invited to the event. "The Taliban should be given the feeling that they are our own people, and they should be invited," Adul Sattar Sadat, another member of the newly created Jirga, said.
"If Taliban, who are willing to join the peace process and accept the constitution, are not invited, then the event will fail to deliver," Sahira said.
On August 7, foreign minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul said the Taliban could attend the second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan's future, if the national reconciliation process went on satisfactorily.
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