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Afghanistan's Jirga To Focus On Pakistan, Reconciling With Insurgents

The jirga is expected to be held in early May
The jirga is expected to be held in early May
KABUL -- An organizer of Afghanistan's upcoming peace jirga says the expected 1,300 participants will seek ways to create stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Afghan Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, who is the head of the jirga's organizing commission, said on April 5 in Kabul that the jirga attendees will come from all parts of Afghanistan and the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

He said they will focus on ways to involve Pakistan in efforts to help the Afghan government find reconciliation with the Taliban and other armed insurgents.

"What we are doing is talking with the Afghan nation, finding out with whom to speak and how we can better reach out to the country's ongoing militancy," Wardak said.

The jirga participants will include members of the Afghan parliament, Islamic officials, and important tribal figures. Meeting organizers hope the assembly will allow them to explore new ways to fight terrorism and extremism and boost regional cooperation.

Wardak added that no Taliban representatives will be permitted to attend the meeting. "We won't hold discussions with enemies of Afghanistan," he said.

The peace jirga is due to be held in Kabul in early May and is slated to last for three days.