Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s goal in calling a tribal jirga, to be held later this week, is extremely straightforward. He is trying to get the jirga to demonstrate “popular support” for continuing the US occupation through at least 2024.
Such approval would be next to impossible to secure in the Afghan parliament, stacked though it has been through crooked elections, and opposition MPs are expected to boycott the jirga en masse.
But the lack of legality and even the hint of legitimacy is the least of the jirga’s problems now, with the Taliban saying they have acquired a copy of the Afghan government’s security plans for the event. The Afghan government says the plans are “fake,” but it seems clear that the event will be targeted early and often throughout the week.
Indeed, two days before it even started suicide bombers were targeting the site of the future meeting, though so far unsuccessfully. It seems that the attempts are an effort to “test” the defenses of the Afghan government, and if history is any indication the attacks will continue to escalate until they break through.
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