Main opposition leader not to participate in Afghan peace jirga
Afghanistan's most prominent opposition leader, Abdullah Abdullah, said Tuesday he and his supporters would not participate in an upcoming meeting that hopes to lay the groundwork for reconciliation with the Taliban.
Abdullah, a former foreign minister, questioned the legitimacy of the jirga starting in Kabul on Wednesday with some 1,600 delegates participating, DPA reported.
"We have not boycotted the jirga, but we will not participate in it," he said at a press conference in Kabul. When asked whether he would accept the meeting's outcome, Abdullah stressed that "whatever is decided it will not be binding."
The jirga's participants are to debate President Hamid Karzai's 36-page Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme and to produce a blueprint for peace talks and who can take part.
Abdullah lost last year's presidential election to incumbent Karzai amid widespread allegations of vote rigging.