Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

Political Rhetoric

The mistrust between Afghan officials increased and some officials call for conducting Loya Jirga (Grand National Assembly) to mitigate the political syndrome. But Afghan Presidential Palace ruled out any truth in rumors of the holding of Loya Jirga, stating that talking about Jirgas (Assemblies) or convening unofficial Jirgas was in violation of Afghanistan’s constitution.
Afghan former president Hamid Karzai repeatedly called for holding Loya Jirga. In advance of the NUG’s second anniversary on September 29, 2016 – which Karzai considers its expiry date – he repeated his call for a Loya Jirga to “restore legitimacy and confidence in the NUG,” warning that failure to do so would “cause problems for our land and increase discontent.” This year, he has stepped up his networking activities and made a new push for his Loya Jirga plan. He used the Eid-ul-Adha holiday in early September 2017 to pay visits to the homes of influential politicians. Former minister of water and energy and Herat strongman Ismail Khan told reporters on October 08, 2017, that Karzai had called him a few days before to say that he would send documents outlining his program for the way out of the current situation of the country and how to take action to solve the problems.
Karzai has also stuck to his sharp, anti-American rhetoric. While many Afghan politicians and large segments of the general public welcomed the new US military strategy presented on August 22, 2017, Karzai announced his opposition to it. His denunciation during an interview with the BBC, even went as far as to accuse the US of “bringing up” and supporting the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He also called for a ‘traditional Loya Jirga’ to review the new US strategy and assure Afghanistan’s neighbors that its soil would not be used in favor of American and others’ interest. Traditional Loya Jirgas, also called were a Karzai invention largely aimed at shoring up domestic support for actions that he wanted to take or wanted to avoid responsibility for taking, or sometimes to stir up debate.
Many Afghan and foreign observers have interpreted Karzai’s statements and active networking as signs that he continues to harbor ambitions of taking up a leading political position again, despite denials, and the fact that the constitution rules out a third stint as president. For instance, on September 21, 2017, Foreign Policy wrote: “It has been three years since the former Afghan president, once a close ally of the United States who depended on American backing, left his old role. He is adamant that he has no interest in returning to the presidency. But Karzai is far from retired.”
In its September 2014 founding agreement, the National Unity Government (NUG) imposed a two-year deadline on itself to convene a Loya Jirga in order to amend the constitution and consider the creation of the post of a permanent executive prime minister. The convening of a loya Jirga, as laid out in article 110 of the Afghan constitution, however, is linked to both an elected parliament and district councils whose members would constitute the majority of its members. Article 110 of the constitution stipulates: “…The Loya Jirga consists of: 1. Members of the National Assembly; 2. Presidents of the provincial as well as district assemblies. Ministers, Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court as well as the attorney general shall participate in the Loya Jirga sessions without voting rights.”
Some argue that the NUG’s term ended with the expiry of the 2014 agreement in 2016 and that it should have been replaced by a new arrangement, either through a Loya Jirga – called for mainly by Karzai and his supporters – or elections.
The government calls holding Loya Jirga in conflict with the current law. President’s spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi said, “Those individuals who are rallying for a Jirga from their own standpoints, their statements have no compatibility with the prevailing laws of the country”.
It should be noted that the type of Loya Jirga Karzai proposes would, however, be different from the one stated in the NUG agreement. This agreement calls for a constitutional Loya Jirga; whereas Karzai advocates for a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga where the president appoints all members.  
Conducting consultative Loya Jirga which is mentioned in NUG agreement is not against constitution since the heads of NUG have agree upon. But they did not hold Loya Jirga, the issue which has apparently widened the gap between officials. Karzai is a now an ordinary Afghan citizen and his call for Loya Jirga has no sanction behind. But persisting on the issue or mobilizing the public in this regard will be an unnecessary interference to be avoided. Now it is the readers to judge whether or not holding Loya Jirga will take the country out of the current crisis.