Friday, August 10, 2007

Pretty good news from the war zone

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai opened the Afghani-Pakistani jirga (tribal council) for peace Thursday, tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims marched peacefully through Baghdad to a shrine honoring an 8th-century imam, with little of the violence that has marred past celebrations. The only hitch was that Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf stayed home from the jirga to ponder the need for a state of emergency. Ceding to media, political and diplomatic pressure, he didn’t declare one. His absence from the jirga is not considered a major hurdle to peace building by Afghan officials, as more than 600 tribal leaders, the true power brokers in the region, are in attendance. Tribal elders from Pakistan’s most volatile region are not in attendance either, however, which may lessen the effect of the 4-day meeting, an idea hatched by presidents Bush, Karzai and Musharaff to calm the bloodshed. In an impassioned, if macho, plea to stop the killing, Karzai said the Taliban’s killing of women is tarnishing Afghanistan’s reputation: "It doesn't matter if they kidnap thousands of men, they abducted women!" he said, referring to the South Korean hostages. In reference to other attacks, he said:
"They behead women in the name of the Taliban and Muslims in this country. In Helmand, one woman was nailed to a tree. In Zhari, they cut a woman in half”.
Karzai believes that if Pakistani and Afghan “brothers” unite, the "disaster and cruelty in the two nations will be finished in one day." If over 600 tribal elders can agree on that, perhaps the end is in sight.

1 comment:

Naomi Norberg said...

Musharraf has now announced that he will attend the end of the jirga. Progress, one step at a time.