Spanta briefs MPs on Afghan-US strategic pactBy Abasin Zaheer Nov 14, 2011 - 18:44
KABUL (PAN): As part of the proposed strategic cooperation deal, Afghanistan and the US had agreed on issues concerning the country's economy and good governance, a presidential advisor told the Wolesi Jirga on Monday.
Briefing lawmakers on the agreement, security advisor to the president, Rangin Dadfar Spanta said that issues including justice, an end to nighttime military operations, the control of jails, treatment of prisoners and others were being discussed with the US officials.
Spanta's remarks come two days ahead of the Loya Jirga when more than 2,000 government officials and elders are scheduled to meet to discuss the pros and cons of the strategic partnership agreement. The jirga will also confer on a mechanism for peace negotiations with Afghan insurgents.
All sitting parliamentarians, some former MPs, 30 percent members of each provincial council, representatives of civil society and special people, religious scholars and influential tribal elders will attend the jirga.
Spanta said that the Loya Jirga was a consultative gathering and that the Afghan government had not yet agreed at all issues of the pact. A final decision about the agreement would come from the Parliament after being discussed by the jirga, he said.
Opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, calling the Jirga as unconstitutional, on Sunday said his Hope and Change party would not participate in the event.
Abdullah said he had been invited to the jirga as a tribal elder from the central Panjsher province. However, he said he would stay away because it was not the same Jirga as outlined in the constitution. All its decisions would not be acceptable for the coalition and the nation, he said.
Spanta said Afghanistan would also sign similar pacts with the European Union, France and the UK. He said the agreements with the said countries were mostly focused on economical cooperation.
MP Mirwais Yasini said since the house had not yet approved the basics of the Afghan government's foreign policy, such agreements should not be signed.
But Spanta replied the government had prepared a draft of the fundamentals which would soon be provided to the house for approval.