Afghan opposition leader to boycott 'peace jirga', says its a PR exercise

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London, June 2 (ANI): Former Afghan Foreign Minister and now Leader of the Opposition in the Afghan Parliament, Absullah Absullah has said he will boycott the much-hyped "peace jirga" of over 1600 tribal chieftains.

Abdullah dismissed the event as a mere 'PR Exercise' and has vowed not to attend it.

Massive funds have gone into organising the jirga aimed at showcasing the government's ambitious plans, including the provision of jobs for reformed Taliban foot-soldiers.

It is set to take place at the same location as the previous Loya Jirga in 2002.

The new proposals are not likely to stir up much controversy, but the real bone of contention would be the negotiations with the Taliban militia and settlements with the insurgent chiefs.

The Taliban who have not been invited, described the meeting is a "phoney jirga" being organised to please foreign parties.

According to The Guardian, foreign officials say a broad national consensus is essential to avoid the perception that any peace deal is, in the words of one western diplomat, a "Pashtun to Pashtun stitch up".

The Pashtuns are Afghanistan's largest ethnic group that have traditionally held the most sway in Afghanistan and from which the Taliban draws much of its support.

The US embassy in Kabul said it supported a process that "seeks to bring back into society those who cease violence, break ties with al-Qaida ... and live under the Afghan constitution."

The 1,600 delegates include some 550 women, the number of which were increased after Hillary Clinton expressed concerns to Karzai that women risked being overlooked. (ANI)

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