Taliban, HIA say jirga to fuel regional tensions
KABUL (PAN): The Loya Jirga's endorsement of the idea about US military bases would fuel regional sensitivity and make Afghanistan a hub of a long, drawn-out power struggle, Afghan insurgents warned on Sunday.
The four-day traditional assembly concluded on Saturday with the endorsement of the strategic cooperation agreement between the US and Afghanistan. In a 76-article declaration, the delegates backed the creation of American bases in the country for a decade.
Reacting to the jirga's outcome, the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) vehemently opposed the move as counterproductive. They said the declaration did not reflect popular aspirations for peace and stability.
On behalf of the Taliban movement, Zabihullah Mujahid said: "Real public representatives, who boldly espouse people's causes and core Islamic principles, were not invited to the jirga."
The participants were members of the sitting government, its apologists or those who have been supportive of a foreign presence in the country over the past decade, Mujahid said in a statement.
The international troops, who had killed many innocent civilians since 2002, would perpetrate more such fatalities during the next 10 years, he added, claiming the declaration had been prepared by Americans.
Mujahid insisted the jirga had been called just to announce the recommendations, which would inflame regional sensitivity to the long-term American military presence in Afghanistan.
He stressed that the pullout of US and NATO-led troops was the only way to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan. "As long as this issue is not addressed, all meetings, jirgas and conferences will bring more harm than benefits to on Afghanistan, the US and their allies."
Meanwhile, the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led HIA also rejected the jirga as an exercise in futility. The Karzai administration convened the gathering at the behest of the United States, the group's spokesman alleged.
Eng. Haroon Zarghoon told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone the delegates' decisions conformed to US dictates. Karzai's recent remarks against night raids and civilian house searches were followed by an American military commander's statement that such operations had been useful, he concluded.
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