Afghanistan's Loya Jirga concludes work fulfilling key tasks set by UN-brokered accord

Afghanistan's Loya Jirga concludes work fulfilling key tasks set by UN-brokered accord

After electing Hamid Karzai as Head of State for the Transitional Administration and approving proposals for the government's structure and key personnel, Afghanistan's Loya Jirga grand council concluded its work today, having fulfilled the main tasks set out in the United Nations-brokered Bonn Agreement.

After electing Hamid Karzai as Head of State for the Transitional Administration and approving proposals for the government's structure and key personnel, Afghanistan's Loya Jirga grand council concluded its work today, having fulfilled the main tasks set out in the United Nations-brokered Bonn Agreement.

Before the council wrapped up its nine-day session, President-elect Karzai was sworn in by the Chief Justice. During an hour-long speech to the Loya Jirga this afternoon, Mr. Karzai announced the key posts of his cabinet, naming 3 vice-Presidents and 14 ministers. The delegates approved his proposal by a show of hands, according to a UN spokesman.

In his address, Mr. Karzai said education, reconstruction and security were among the Government's major priorities. Thanking numerous individuals for their support, Mr. Karzai expressed gratitude to the UN's chief envoy in the country, Lakhdar Brahimi, and proposed that he be given an Afghan passport as a token of thanks.

The Chairman of the Loya Jirga, Muhammad Qasimyar, congratulated the delegates for electing Mr. Karzai as head of State and on the successful completion of the democratic process. According to UN officials, an estimated 2,000 people, including delegates, community leaders, friends of Afghanistan and UN staff, turned out for the Loya Jirga.

On the opening day of the 9-day council, Mr. Brahimi, said it was remarkable that “in a country that has just emerged from three decades of brutal conflict and lawlessness, so many Afghans –though unarmed, powerless and often poor – had the courage to resist interference” and attend. “The entire world has followed the suffering of the Afghan people over the past 23 years,” he said. “Their eyes are upon you today, but far more important is the fact that the eyes of your fellow Afghans are upon you.”