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Nov-07-2011 04:24printcomments

Taliban Steps Up Attacks Ahead of Afghan Loya Jirga

Taliban says they will disrupt coming Loya Jirga.

Loya Jirga

(KABUL Xinhua) - Amid Afghan government's efforts to convene Loya Jirga or traditional grand assembly to get national endorsement for inking the possible strategic partnership with the United States, the Taliban militants have intensified attacks to spoil the step.

The armed outfit fighting Afghan government and some 130,000 strong-NATO-led troops with nearly 100,000 of them Americans, in the latest attacks, targeted a logistic company providing assistance to the NATO-led forces in Herat province on Thursday killing two people and injuring three others.

Afghan government is going to convene a Loya Jirga within weeks, probably by the end of November to discuss the proposed Afghan-U.S. strategic partnership and the possible establishment of the U.S. military bases in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.

As a sign of strong opposition to the possible formation of U.S. permanent military bases in Afghanistan, the Taliban outfit, in a statement released to media outlets days ago, termed the upcoming Loya Jirga as a trick to legalize the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and vowed to disrupt it.

These women in Kabul will never walk again due to
Taliban bombs. photo by Tim King

"Under the orders of its masters, the Kabul administration wants to abuse a much respected custom of our country (Loya Jirga) and try to give a legal face to the establishment of permanent bases for the American occupying forces on the Islamic soil of Afghanistan," the Taliban statement, sent to media last week said.

"For its long term goal of permanently staying in Afghanistan, the Americans want to once again abuse this tradition through its stooge regime to call a supposed Loya Jirga in which faces of its preference will be gathered, food will be eaten and once again, games will be played with the fate and future of its nation," the English statement of the Taliban outfit read out.

Although the authenticity of the statement has yet to be verified, the inflexible outfit warned of dire consequence to anyone attends the traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly including tribal elders, chieftains, parliamentarians and functionaries.

To oppose the presence of NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the post-Taliban Afghanistan and lash at government-initiated Loya Jirga, the militants have intensified their attacks recently.

On Oct. 31, the Taliban militants stormed a guesthouse in their former stronghold Kandahar 450 km south of Afghan capital Kabul leaving six people including three UN employees, dead.

Kabul Men hope to find a day's work. photo by Tim King

Similarly, two days earlier of Kandahar offensive, on Oct. 29, the Taliban fighters, in a brazen attack, carried out a deadly suicide bombing against NATO-led troops in the fortified capital city Kabul killing 16 people including 13 Americans.

The coming four-day Loya Jirga is scheduled to be held under a giant tent inside the Polytechnic compound and as part of security measures, the government has given holidays for the students of Polytechnic during the Jirga, besides stationing police on the hilltops and roads leading to the Jirga avenue.

Taliban militants, who attacked a peace Jirge or peace gathering under the same tent in 2010, have warned sternly to disrupt the coming Loya Jirga.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of the ousted Taliban regime) calls on its brave and courageous Mujahideen (holy warriors) to target every security guard, person with intention to participate the so-called Loya Jirga, and such traitors will be pursued by Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate in every corner of the country and will face severe repercussions," the statement warned.

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