Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The BBC has a question: can a jirga without rebel leaders bring Afghanistan peace?

The answer, obviously, is a resounding no.  Duh.

But if the jirga is a kind of peace conference, it is rather one sided. The insurgents' leaders are not there. Hizb-e-Islami, a small militant group which has sometimes fought with the Taliban, said the jirga was of "no importance". "The participants of the jirga are state favourites," said a statement released by the group. "They have no power of decision. It is only a consultative jirga - without any participation of the Mujahideen." 
 So what's going on with Karzai?  Clearly the U.S. is backing this initiative, but only tepidly.  The Embassy released a statement of support, but the process hasn't been emphasized by any of the leading American policymakers, most notably McChrystal, Holbrooke, and Clinton.  NATO is in favor as well, but let's be honest: this jirga is nothing but empty talk.  Karzai and Co. can continue talking the talk of governance and reconciliation, but without clear results, real progress, changes will not be forthcoming.  And if we've learned one thing about Karzai over the past (almost!) decade, it's that he is willing to talk nice, but not follow through.

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