Nomads select district representatives for Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga, UN reports

Nomads select district representatives for Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga, UN reports

Nomads listening to their elders
Close to 1,000 nomads representing 12 tribes from provinces in central and south-central Afghanistan have chosen six district representatives for Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, or tribal council, according to the United Nations mission in the country (UNAMA).

The nomads gathered in a town not far from Kabul on Thursday for their "Shura" - a selection procedure being conducted as part of the first phase of the Loya Jirga process, which is scheduled for completion on 20 May, UNAMA said.

Addressing the assembled nomads before the selection got under way, elders and leaders collectively stressed that there had been enough fighting in Afghanistan, and called on the various tribes to choose their leaders with the UN's support.

UNAMA reported a general atmosphere of "goodwill, optimism and general interest in the whole Loya Jirga process, with some lightness and celebration during the selection process in the form of Dol and Atan - a strong traditional drum and dance performance."

In this first phase of the Loya Jirga process - a key component of Afghanistan's political transition - people in the country's 381 districts will choose between 20 and 60 representatives. In the second phase, beginning around 20 May, these district representatives will meet at one of the regional centres to choose their delegates for the Emergency Loya Jirga. That selection will be conducted through secret ballots and observed by the international community. The Loya Jirga itself is scheduled to start on 10 June.