Afghan Parliament Seeks Dialog with Opposition

April 20, 2013

The lower house of the Afghan parliament, Wolesi Jirga, voted on Saturday to set up a commission to work out a mechanism to help make peace with armed opposition groups, the Pajhwok news agency reported.

Outspoken lawmaker Shukria Barakzai criticized the High Peace Council, saying it was made up of men who fought each other in the past and now had gathered under a single roof to safeguard their own interests. She also accused Pakistan and Iran of trying to subvert peace efforts in Afghanistan. "Our politicians visit Pakistan and Iran to auction the future of Afghans there," she was quoted by Pajhwok as saying.

Abdul Qayum Sajidi, who represents the southern Ghazni province, said the High Peace Council lacked commitment. "The Taliban consider the government weak and it is obvious no one talks to a weak side in a conflict," he said.

Kandahar representative Syed Mohammad Akhunzada slammed the government for wasting its resources on an ineffective campaign. "A Taliban member kills a person in return for 10,000 Pakistani rupees. Give this amount to the Taliban and peace will automatically come," he said, according to Pajhwok.

The radical Islamic Taliban group, which was toppled in a 2001 U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan, stages regular attacks on provincial government officials, police and civilians and plants roadside bombs to target Afghan, US and NATO troops.

International troops are preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, handing over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to local police and military.

Originally published by RIA Novosti.

Photo by DemocracyIntl.

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