Sunday, November 20, 2011

Afghan Council Supports Karzai on U.S. Troop Presence

At the Lisbon NATO Summit, the US-European alliance made an open ended commitment to Afghanistan. NATO 3.0 has the details.


The grand council of Afghan delegates known as the loya jirga drew to a close Saturday, choosing to support President Hamid Karzai’s vision for negotiating a strategic agreement that could keep a long-term American military presence in Afghanistan.

For the past four days, more than 2,000 delegates, including elders, local and regional leaders and government officials, met to discuss some of the country’s weightiest issues, including the negotiations with the United States and another debate about how to start peace talks with the Taliban. But from the beginning, the jirga was called into question by both its timing — it seemed to undercut an active session of Parliament — and its composition, in which about 90 percent of the delegates were handpicked by Mr. Karzai or his aides.

Important Afghan figures, including many members of Parliament, prominent civic leaders and political opposition, responded by boycotting the meeting. That undermined the traditional weight that jirgas are given in Afghan society, though this body was advisory only with no legal force behind it.