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Afghan Leader Highlights Importance Of Peace Jirga

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has voiced support for peace negotiations with the country's armed insurgency and highlighted the importance of a regional peace jirga planned for early May, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

In a speech on state radio on April 9, Karzai called for public support for the government's efforts to stabilize the country. "Having support from tribal elders, Ulamas [religious clerics], journalists, [and] our media is necessary and fundamentally needed," Karzai said.

Karzai specifically urged Afghans to back the peace jirga.

The regional jirga is slated to begin in Kabul on May 2 and last three days.

The participants will seek new ways to fight terrorism and extremism as well as to boost cooperation with Pakistan.

Some 1,300 representatives of Afghan local communities, NGOs, the media, the government, and parliament are expected to attend. Pakistan will also send representatives.

The peace jirga will be the second to be held in the past two years.