Afghanistan: December 15, 2003

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The Loya Jirga (a meeting of some 500 traditional tribal and religious leaders) began, planning to spend the next ten days working out an agreement on a new constitution for the country. President Karzai wants more power given to an elected president, while many tribal leaders want a parliamentary form of government (where the leader of the largest coalition of factions becomes president, or prime minister). Warlords and drug lords have influenced the Loya Jirga by buying or bullying their way into controlling many representatives. They favor a parliamentary system because it would be easier to make deals to corrupt the justice system and prevent crackdowns on criminal activities. It's going to be an interesting meeting.

In eastern Afghanistan, a bomb went off outside the office of a woman's organization. In Pushtun areas (south and east Afghanistan), there is traditional resistance to educating women or allowing them many freedoms. The Taliban is a Pushtun movement and violence against assertive women is one of their principle activities. 

 

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