TEHRAN, Nov. 23 (MNA) -- The gathering of tribal elders in Afghanistan, which is known as the Loya Jirga, is traditionally regarded as a place to adopt general strategies and make critical decisions.

However, the country’s current situation has raised many questions about the legitimacy of the assembly, especially among Afghan parliamentarians, who criticize the Loya Jirga because its members are conducting activities not authorized by the Afghan Constitution.

After the most recent Loya Jirga’s controversial decisions to approve the U.S.-Afghan strategic security agreement and start peace talks with the Taliban, many Afghan legislators, especially MPs in opposition groups, have raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the gathering and its true function in the Afghan political structure.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been harshly criticized for his inclination toward the Loya Jirga. His critics believe he is using the assembly as a tool to legitimize his pro-Western policies.

Karzai is looking for a partner in his efforts to extend the U.S. military presence through a new strategic deal. He also wants to hold peace talks with the Taliban extremists. Many believe that the Loya Jirga is his best partner in these endeavors.

However, the Afghan people are opposed to the continuation of the U.S. occupation. They also suffered greatly during the time when the extremist government of the Taliban was in power. Therefore, in such a scenario, the Loya Jirga’s only role is to serve Karzai and to help him accomplish the missions assigned to him by the Westerners.

The Afghan Constitution has delineated the necessary mechanisms for different groups and individuals to participate in the political process.

The Karzai administration’s emphasis on the role of the Loya Jirga shows that it is continuing to downplay the role of other political institutions, such as the Afghan parliament.

At the end of the day, the Loya Jirga will only negatively impact the nascent Afghan democracy and increase instability in the country. In other words, the Loya Jirga, in its current form, is a collection of nothing.

Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian is an expert on Pakistan and Afghanistan who formerly served as Iran’s ambassador to Islamabad.

MS/HG
END
MNA

News Code 49007

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