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“No regret for not attending Loy Jirga”

AT News Report

KABUL: Former President, Hamid Karzai says he is not regretful that he did not attend the Consultative Loya Jirga on peace, convened last week in Kabul to discuss ways for negotiations with Taliban.

“The Consultative Loya Jirga was not held at a proper time by the government, and I am not regretful for not attending,” Karzai told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Monday in an interview.

More than 3,000 people from 34 provinces called on Taliban and government after a five-day long discussion for an immediate ceasefire from the first day of the holy month of Ramazan began on Monday. The call was welcomed by President Ashraf Ghani who promised to use it as a roadmap for his government policy, but Taliban rejected it, vowing to continue attacks during the fasting month which “brings more rewards”.

Karzai who was accompanied by a number of other politicians mostly opposing Ghani’s policies in boycotting the Loya Jirga, said that the Jirgas had always resolved big problems “in this country”, but claimed that there was no “unity of opinion” in the consultative peace Loya Jirga.

The former president added that he had advised President Ghani about an unsuitable time for the Jirga. “I told him (Ghani) that it is not time to convene Loya Jirga. It would be better to call it at first or at the end of the peace efforts. Dr. Abdullah disagreed with him and told him in my presence to speak at a session about the calling of the jirga. Also, other elders of the country were not convinced and I knew that Taliban would reject it.”

Karzai said he accepted the Jirga’s resolution as peaceful, except one point. “I appreciate the jirga resolution because it emphasizes on peace. Of course, its article 3 makes problem that I would not like to comment on. But I welcome the rest of resolution as people’s demand for peace.”

The article 3 calls “different interpretations from Islam” as one of the war reasons in Afghanistan. This faced reactions from clerics and political opposition who were seeking a point in the jirga to press.

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