Road block amid peace jirga irks residents

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: As part of the measures to ensure the safety of the Grand Consultative Jirga on Peace, where almost 3,000 delegates have attended, many Kabul roads remained closed on Monday and according to officials, the situation will continue for another three days. Some Kabul residents said the move has created problems for the residents who are living in the west of Kabul around Bagh-e-Bala area – where the Jirga is held.

The Jirga, according to officials, is part of the Afghan government’s efforts to create a framework for talks with the Taliban. The last Jirga which was held by former President Hamid Karzai in late 2013, which was aimed at deciding on the future of the bilateral security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, which was one of the much-debated topics at that time. The agreement was later signed by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in September 2014 under the National Unity Government. The Jirga hall is located inside the Kabul Polytechnic University’s compound. All roads connecting to the area are blocked and are under tight security measures. The Afghan government has announced a one-week holiday for public servants in Kabul only.

A day earlier on Sunday, a Kabul resident claimed that his newborn baby died after he could not take him to the hospital due to road closures.  Fazl Rahim, a native resident of Nangarhar, said he is in Kabul for getting a Pakistan visa but he has lost his patience as he sees a major road block in the city.

He said that he wants to travel to Pakistan for treatment purposes. “The road block has created many problems for the residents but we remain optimistic about the results of the Peace Jirga,” said Wali, a Kabul resident. “We walked for almost an hour because all roadblock in the city,” said Wakil, a Kabul resident.  Some residents, meanwhile, called for the implementation of decisions and demands of the Peace Jirga delegates.

“A huge amount of money has been invested to organize the Jirga… It will be unfortunate if the Jirga does not end with a considerable outcome,” said Mohammad Jawad, a Kabul resident. The Grand Consultative Jirga on Peace was inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani on Monday despite that it has been boycotted by many mainstream political parties and election tickets. Addressing the inauguration of the Jirga, President Ghani’s Special Envoy Umer Daudzai said at least 3,200 delegates and 300 guests have attended the event.

Meanwhile, a new-born baby died on Sunday after his father was unable to cross security checkpoints established for the safety of Loya Jirga, and take him to medical facilities on time in capital Kabul. The baby was struggling with breath problem, while his father was stuck in traffic jam caused by heavy security measures due to the upcoming consultative Loya Jirga and victory of Mujahideen.

The baby’s father, Ghulam Reza was screaming and crying, “What should I say to his mother? She wants her son.” “I arrived an hour late. The doctors told me that I brought him late. You killed your son!” Reza addressed government leaders, hardly trying to keep his tears back. “The government has closed the roads. My son was about eight days old and this is Ghani’s gift,” he said with a hopeless face. The grandmother of the baby said that the police have not let them cross the checkpoints, thus they were late in the hospital.

“Doctors told us that if you made it on time here, the baby would have a chance of survival,” she said. The main roads of the city are blocked for traffic due to today’s Consultative Peace Jirga and marking the day of mujahideen s’ victory. Nasrat Rahimi, interior ministry spokesman, said that the majority of the roads were not closed during Peace Jirga. (Tolo News)