That imprecision has alarmed both Western diplomats and members of Mr.
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One specific concern is that it will present an opening for a constitutional change that would allow Mr. Karzai to run for a third term. View all New York Times newsletters. Karzai in the presidential election and who held a news conference on Sunday about the coming meeting.
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Its decisions, whatever decisions it would make, would not be acceptable for the people of Afghanistan. Karzai or his lieutenants. This is at least the fifth significant jirga since the expulsion of the Taliban in Ruttig said, noting that in fact they have been used by Afghan leaders to give a populist imprimatur to their policies only in the past 85 years, starting with King Amanullah in the s.
If the seemingly intentional vagueness reflects a certain rudderless state of mind in the Afghan leadership, that would also be worrisome, Mr. Ruttig said.
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The last few days have seen a relentless drumbeat of opposition to this jirga as members of Parliament who oppose Mr. Karzai, political opposition figures and members of civil society have called for participants to boycott it. The Taliban have gone out of their way to threaten to kill anybody who attends, and late on Sunday sent out a mass e-mail that said insurgents had obtained the security plan for the jirga.
They attached the page plan, which included a schematic drawing of the meeting site, at Polytechnic University, and the names and numbers of Interior Ministry officers involved in the security. However, a senior Afghan security official admitted that the plan had been sent to all the security ministries in the last several days and was not a top secret document, suggesting that the Taliban could have obtained it from multiple sources.
On Monday, Lutfullah Mashal, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency, said security forces had killed a suicide bomber as he tried to enter the gate of the university. During the consultative peace jirga held in June , the Taliban managed to position attackers in buildings relatively close to the jirga tent and shot rockets at it. Afterward, the interior minister and head of the intelligence service were forced to resign.
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Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. In the run-up to the gathering, major points of contention were evident. On November 19, reports emerged that President Karzai would be willing to drop his objections to U. President Barack Obama admitted to military "mistakes" made during the year war.
That quid pro quo appeared to have replaced an earlier one that centered on Kabul agreeing to Washington's demand that any remaining U. Afghans, meanwhile, have vented their anger at Washington's unbending demands.
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Hundreds of people have taken to the streets over the past two weeks to protest any deal that would allow U. Numerous incidents involving U.
They include: the burning of hundreds of copies of the Koran at a U. If the United States intends to smooth things over with the Afghan people, the Loya Jirga could also help with this. On the other hand, if the Afghan government or the United States is willing to walk away from the bargaining table, each could use the Loya Jirga's rejection of a deal as political cover.
In the United States, the popularity of the Afghan war is at an all-time low and the thought of more troop and financial expenditures does not sit well with many Americans.
Shank suggests that any excuse to cut the losses would be welcome in some quarters in Washington. Conflicting Reports On U.
Taliban Claims Kabul Bombing. Karzai: U. Why U. New Feature Alert Signup Widget. Editors' Picks. Back to top.