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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
Loya jirga's mixed message
Delegates at the loya jirga
For many, just getting to Kabul was a victory

After nine days of debating the future of their country, delegates have left the loya jirga for home and the old polytechnic site in Kabul where they gathered is being cleared up.


The armed factions will remain dominant in the government for the next two years

For many people, just getting to Kabul was a victory, after widespread intimidation and bribery by the armed factions.

Once here, there were more complaints of threats, time-wasting from the chair and the feeling that the real decisions were made outside the tent.

At the same time, most delegates said the loya jirga was something to celebrate.

This is due to the unprecedented number of women, the fact that Afghans came from across the country and the world and that there was discussion without violence.

These were hopeful signs they said for the future of Afghanistan.

Uncertain future

Hamid Karzai has said he has made a contract with the nation to protect people's rights, Islam and the country's independence.

Hamid Karzai asks for a delay at the loya jirga
Karzai said he could not satisfy everyone
He also promised an end to what he called "warlordism".

But the armed factions will remain dominant in the government for the next two years.

In particular the position of the defence minister and now vice-president Marshal Fahim has been strengthened.

Whether Hamid Karzai has the strength to forge a stable and more democratic Afghanistan out of all this remains to be seen, but his speeches to the delegates has proved his breathtaking ability to win ordinary Afghans over.


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18 Jun 02 | South Asia
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19 Jun 02 | Media reports
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