Afghan leader to propose 'jirga' to tackle violence: officials

Other News Materials 26 December 2007 14:59 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai was expected to use a visit to Pakistan starting Wednesday to push plans for a new "jirga" or traditional council to tackle extremist violence.

The first "peace jirga" was held in August in Kabul, drawing together about 700 delegates from both countries, and Islamabad had been expected to host the second before the end of this year.

Among the topics on the agenda of talks between Karzai and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was the jirga, which had been pushed back, Afghan government officials said.

The first jirga -- attended by tribal elders, religious leaders and politicians -- resulted in expressions of goodwill to end the violence but also exposed differences in how to do so.

Some delegates from Pakistan had said foreign troops should leave Afghanistan. Tribal leaders from Pakistan's lawless Waziristan region boycotted the jirga because it did not include the Taliban.

Musharraf pulled out of the US-brokered "peace jirga" at the last minute but attended the closing session after a phone call from Karzai.

The neighbours -- allies in the US-led "war on terror" -- have been at loggerheads about the violence, with Afghan officials saying the insurgency is plotted and prepared in Pakistan.

Pakistan was one of three countries that recognised the 1996-2001 Taliban regime as the official government in Afghanistan.