Controversial jirga proposals

Afghan leaders come up with interesting proposals to bring peace to the country.

Over the last two days, the Jirga members were divided into 28 committees and asked to discuss the way forward towards peace in Afghanistan.

Each of the chairmen of those committees have now been giving a summary of their decisions in the main tent of the Jirga.

Some of the proposals match the way forward that the Afghan government and international players want to take.

But some of the proposals will cause alarm in international circles.

Many talked about new measures to tackle corruption.

Others focused on the UN blacklist – the list of Taliban senior members subject to financial and travel restrictions.

They want names taken off that list, as an inducement to the Taliban side, something the international community may agree to.

But other proposals will almost certainly not be acceptable to America and its allies.

Many said they want Taliban prisoners released – with Guantanamo, Bagram and other jails closed.

Other members demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

There was a call for a unilateral ceasefire by the Afghan government and international forces.

One intriguing proposal is for one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces to be declared “the peace province”.

NATO and Afghan troops would pull out of this area, to be replaced by peacekeepers from countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

Peace talks would then be held in that province.

Other proposals have called for peace talks in either Turkey or Saudi Arabia.

And the same two countries were mentioned as possible places for exile of senior leadership of the Taliban and its allies.

One committee even said it thought that America and Britain were secretly giving support to the Taliban, a theory – many would call it a conspiracy theory – that I have heard more and more often from ordinary Afghans in recent years.

The full Jirga must now decide which ideas make it to their final declaration.

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