Kabul, Nov 5: Afghanistan will convene a traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly of tribal elders, notables and government officials Nov 16 for consultations on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US, the local media reported Tuesday.
“Around 3,000 people would attend the proposed Loya Jirga on the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, scheduled to begin November 16,” Xinhua cited The Daily Afghanistan newspaper as quoting Deputy Minister for Frontiers and Tribal Affairs Al-Hajj Mohammad Yaqub Ahmadzai.
“The traditional Loya Jirga has originally been planned for three days but the government can extend it for a week in case of need,” the daily quoted Ahmadzai as saying.
“The consultative Loya Jirga comprising parliamentarians, university teachers, civil society representatives and tribal elders would advise the government whether or not to sign the security pact with the US,” the English newspaper Daily Outlook reported.
Kabul and Washington have been discussing over the past year the proposed security pact and the nature of US military presence beyond 2014.
However, the issue of granting immunity to the foreign soldiers has remained the main obstacle to signing the controversial agreement.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pointed out that the Loya Jirga can take a final decision with regard to granting immunity to the foreign soldiers and inking the BSA with the US.
The BSA, if inked, would enable the US to keep a limited number of troops, reportedly between 5,000 and 12,000, after the NATO-led coalition forces leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.