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Kabul Jirga Skirts Pashtun Radicalization

Haroun Mir notes in the Asia Times that the Kabul jirga bringing together tribal and government leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan has missed the mark.

After months of negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a joint jirga (council) finally took place in Kabul. But the four-day gathering, which ended this weekend, was more like a peace conference than a traditional jirga, where belligerent parties should have faced one another and accepted the outcome of the meeting. Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan made eloquent speeches in support of peace and a policy of friendship between the two Muslim nations. But they failed to highlight the main threat to the stability of the countries - the intensive radicalization of Pashtun tribes at the hands of al-Qaeda.

On one hand, the man has a point. On the other, the optimist would conclude that it's at least a start where there was none previously. How the second jirga proceeds to this end, scheduled to occur this time in Pakistan, will be a more conclusive bell weather.

Readers may also be interested in today's related PrincipalAnalysis: American Power Play In Pakistan.