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Loya jirga

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Loya jirga, occasionally loya jirgah, is a large meeting held in Afghanistan, originally attended by Pashtun groups but later including other ethnic groups. The attendees variously include tribal or regional leaders, political, military and religious figures, royalty, government officals, etc. The meetings are called irregularly, often by the ruler.

The word is from the Pashto language -- loya means "great" or "grand" and jirga means "council", "assembly" or "meeting".

In September 2001, there were four different loya jirga movements anticipating the end of Taliban rule. There was little communication between each of them:

  • The first was based in Rome around Mohammed Zahir Shah, and it reflected the interests of moderate Pashtuns[?] from southeastern Afghanistan, the same ethnic group from which the Taliban draws much of its support. The Rome initiative called for fair elections, support for Islam as the foundation of the Afghan state and respect for human rights.
  • The second was based in Cyprus and led by Homayoun Jarir[?], a renegade member of the Islamic Party of his father-in-law, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who fought a battle over Kabul with rivals before the Taliban took over in 1996. Critics of the Cyprus initiative suspected it of serving the interests of Iran. The members of the Cyprus initiative, however, considered themselves closer to the Afghan people and regard the Rome group as too close to the long-isolated nobility.
  • Two less important initiatives were been based in Bonn and Pakistan.

Loya jirgas in the history of Afghanistan include:

References



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