Iran Welcomes Holding of ‘Peace Assembly’ in Afghanistan

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi hailed the formation of a ‘Loya Jirga of Peace’ in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“Iran welcomes and supports any process or dialogue that is in the interest of peace, stability and sustainable security in Afghanistan,” Mousavi said Tuesday.

Thousands of Afghans congregated in Kabul on Monday for a rare consultative meeting, attended by President Ashraf Ghani, aimed at finding ways to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban and end Afghanistan’s war.

The four-day consultative grand assembly, known as a Loya Jirga, is an attempt by Ghani to influence peace talks with the Taliban.

“It is a proud moment for me to have representatives from all over the country here and today we are gathered to speak about the peace talks,” Ghani said in an opening ceremony in a huge tent set up for such assemblies in central Kabul.

A Loya Jirga is aimed at building consensus among various ethnic groups and tribal factions and is traditionally convened under extraordinary circumstances.

This week’s meeting, being attended by 3,200 trial elders, and community and religious leaders from all 34 provinces and representatives of Afghan nationals residing in Iran and Pakistan, aims to set out Kabul’s conditions for any peace deal.

But opposition political leaders and government critics are boycotting the assembly accusing Ghani of using it as a platform to boost his status as leader in an election year.

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