Afghanistan: Neither republic, nor monarchy

Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga meets amid calls for Mohammad Zaher Shah to be head of state and his refusal to accept the position. As outside influences are blamed for this decision, the Loya Jirga needs to digest the first day of meetings before any long-term conclusions are reached.

The first Loya Jirga since Mohammad Zaher Shah fled Afghanistan two decades ago, with the coming to power of the government of Dr. Najibullah, the most progressive government ever to rule in Kabul, but one whose chances of success were scuppered by the CIA, the Mujaheddin, Mohammad Omar and Osama Bin Laden, will have to undergo a period of adaptation, as Afghanistan’s numerous ethnic and social groupings come together to discuss their future.

These groupings are considerably different, socially and politically, since the last Loya Jirga, since the drive of the Pashtun-based Taleban and the reaction of the Uzbekh and Takikh-based Northern Alliance have carved swathes of influence over the years in areas which were never theirs.

As far as King Zaher Shah is concerned, the 1551 members of the Loya Jirga are divided between wanting him as Head of State and not wanting him at all. For the sake of unity, Zaher Shah is wise to decline any post and to delegate all executive powers to Hamid Karzai, who has been accused by some of being an American puppet (having spent some years in the USA) but who presents himself as the only credible alternative to govern this complex system of tribes and peoples who call themselves a country.

Fortunately for Hamid Karzai, there is not a hostile power, greedy to gain interests, which is ready to fund a new Mujaheddin movement to force his government from power, unlike the scenario with the government of Dr. Najibullah.


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