Loya Jirga Nears End Without Much Progress | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.06.2002
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Loya Jirga Nears End Without Much Progress

After more than a week of confusion, bickering and scant progress, delegates at Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga are now locked in arguments over the composition of Hamid Karzai’s cabinet as time begins to run out.


Long and often fiery speeches have led to the Loya Jirga outrunning its original deadline

Despite meeting for more than a week now, Afghanistan’s 1,600 delegates at the UN-organised Loya Jirga have little to show for their efforts.

They have bickered and locked horns on just about every point of discussion – from the formation of a national parliament, to curbing drug abuse, to the amount of time allotted to the speakers to the role the former King should play in the future government.

Observers say the only thing they have achieved so far is the re-election of Hamid Karzai. Though that happened after Karzai’s serious competitors decided not to run against him.

Stormy eighth day at Loya Jirga

In a further setback, the Loya Jirga was adjourned on Tuesday after a rowdy morning session.

Furious delegates walked out of the marquee housing the Loya Jirga after they heard that Karzai – who was expected to announce key cabinet positions - would not address them until 5 p.m. local time (12.30 GMT).

Some described it as a protest while others said they were simply bored by the long speeches and had better things to do.

Earlier delegates argued over different proposals for a new parliament .

Delegates chew on different plans for Parliament

The newly re-elected leader Hamid Karzai has proposed that five delegates be chosen from each of Afghanistan’s nine constituencies to form a commission called a "shura-ye melli" or national assembly that would decide the new parliament.

But after much opposition to Karzai’s plan, delegates are now pondering another proposal by the Chairman of the Loya Jirga, Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar that calls for each of Afghanistan’s 32 provinces to choose two MPs from the present Loya Jirga and every 20 delegates at the Loya Jirga to choose one MP.

Confusion still reigns at the Loya Jirga whether it will vote on the senior ministers in Karzai’s cabinet or whether there would simply be an announcement of Karzai’s choices.

What role will Jirga play in choosing cabinet?

The possibility that the Jirga might not have any say in Karzai’s choices has irked many delegates, who want to see a greater ethnic and political balance in the cabinet, which has been dominated since last December by the ethnic Tajik-led Northern Alliance. Key posts such as defence, interior and foreign affairs have been controlled by them.

In a speech to the Loya Jirga yesterday, Hamid Karzai said that he wanted a transparent and accountable government with public participation. "Afghanistan should move towards a pluralist government. Afghans should participate and share in government decisions and they have to be informed", he said.

But he hardly mentioned the composition of his cabinet, only saying that he wanted the cabinet "to comply with the present needs of the country" and be "cost effective".

The cabinet issue is further complicated by the fact that the Bonn agreement last year under which the interim administration of Afghanistan was set up, did not envisage creating a parliament for Afghanistan.

It only referred to the Loya Jirga approving the "key personnel" in a new government, without defining who those personnel are.

Time and money running out for delegates

Given the fact that the Loya Jirga instead of electing a broad-based future government for the war-torn country has instead slipped into chaos and fighting, many experts are now questioning whether it wasn't ill-advised for Western donors to pump as much as $ 7.3 million into the gathering.

Yesterday, Mohammed Ismail Qasimyar urged delegates to put their differences aside and make decisions because time was limited due to funding constraints.

"Please brothers! Speak more quickly, the UN has said there is no money left. We will run out of food and we will have to close the tent", he said.

DW recommends