World Bulletin / News Desk
Afghan President Karzai inaugurated on Thursday morning a key meeting of the Loya Jirga – or "Grand Assembly" – to discuss a proposed security deal with the US.
Some 2500 tribal leaders, academics, lawmakers, senators, religious scholars and representatives of people from 17 categories will huddle together for four days.
The three issues in the bilateral security agreement with the US that are expected to be most contentious are legal jurisdiction, US unilateral operations inside Afghan territory and foreign threats to Afghanistan’s sovereignty, now classified as acts of "aggression."
Under the Afghan constitution, the president has the right to invite the Loya Jirga to consult on major national or international issues before providing him with their recommendations.
Participants are expected to discuss and advise President Karzai on the proposed security agreement.
The deal, if signed, will allow the long-term presence of US troops in the country following the scheduled withdrawal in 2014 of US-led foreign forces.
Currently, some 52,000 US troops remain stationed in Afghanistan. The US would like to retain nearly 10,000 of them beyond 2014.
If the bilateral security agreement is not signed, however, all US troops would have to leave the country next year.
It will be the fifth Loya Jirga to be convened since a US-led coalition ousted the ruling Taliban regime in 2001.
Members of an emergency Loya Jirga held in June and July of 2002 elected Karzai as president of the interim administration.
In December 2003, members of the Loya Jirga wrote the Afghan constitution.
In 2007, tribal leaders and various representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan gathered for a joint Jirgaassembly aimed at bolstering cooperation and promoting peace in the two countries.
The Loya Jirga met again in 2012 to discuss an Afghan-US strategic partnership agreement.Last Mod: 21 Kasım 2013, 11:13