Karzai to Convene Assembly to Discuss Afghan Peace Process

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 7:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he will convene an assembly of tribal elders to determine a way forward in the peace process after the killing of the country's top peace envoy.

Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the High Peace Council, was killed in a suicide bombing at his Kabul home on September 20. Afghan officials say the attack was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani citizen.

In a televised speech Monday, President Karzai said a traditional assembly, or loya jirga, will be convened soon to decide the future path of peace in Afghanistan.

The United States said Monday negotiating a peace deal is a critical U.S. goal in Afghanistan, though a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged the reconciliation process is facing challenges. However, he said the lagging negotiations do not negate the security work the U.S. military is doing with Afghan troops and coalition partners.

In his speech, Mr. Karzai once again targeted Pakistan as a roadblock, accusing Pakistan of playing a “double game” on terrorism. The Afghan leader repeated a statement he made last week that peace negotiations should go through Pakistan instead of the Taliban.

The president also expressed hope that the two neighbors will increase cooperation since both nations have experienced insurgency-related violence.

Also Monday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said members of the international community met with Afghan government officials on September 27 to reaffirm their commitment to the Afghan peace process following Rabbani's assassination.