Loya Jirga Concedes with 23-Point Resolution, Urges Permanent Ceasefire

The Grand Assembly/Loya Jirga concluded in Kabul on Friday and it urged for a permanent ceasefire.

It was conceded with a 23-point resolution calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire at the beginning of Ramadan.

The Loya Jirga was had participation of 3,200 delegates who came from across the country and 25-30% of these delegates were women.

President Ghani expressed that since a ceasefire is not one-sided, it is required for the Taliban to be on the same page.

Ghani added that as a gesture of goodwill, 175 Taliban prisoners would be released.

There were several other demands put forward by the delegates that include acceleration of the peace process, direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and the designation of an all-inclusive negotiation team for possible peace talks with the Taliban.

Ghani assured that his government would now follow the resolution as a road map for the state. “I want to say to the Taliban that the choice is now in your hands,” the president said at the closing ceremony in Kabul. “Now it is your turn to show what you want to do.”

Ghani said the message of the five-day gathering was clear: “Afghans want peace” and offered a ceasefire, though he stressed it would not be unilateral.

Although the Taliban previously voiced their opposition to the assembly, calling it “part of exhibitory efforts by the stooges of America in a continuous process of fooling the nation”, they have now reacted to the ceasefire regarding by rejecting it.

In a statement on Friday, the Taliban rejected a ceasefire, saying attacks would continue during Ramazan but said “fighters are very careful of civilians during any operation”.

The group has rejected ceasefire proposals saying US and Nato troops must withdraw from the country first.

The Taliban called the Loya Jirga an attempt by Ghani to shore up his popularity and criticised it for not mentioning the latest United Nations report, which said the US and Afghan forces killed more civilians in the first three months of this year than the militants.

In their statement, the Taliban said once they have a deal with the United States on the withdrawal of its forces, they will then consider talks with members of the Afghan government “to resolve internal issues”.

Meanwhile, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who is currently leading another round of talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha, tweeted that it is time for the Taliban to put down their arms.
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But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in response said, “Instead of such fantasies, [Khalilzad] should drive the idea home about ending the use of force.”

Missing and boycotting the Loya Jirga were some key Afghan politicians like Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai.

UNAMA in a statement welcomed the Loya Jirga.

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