At least 3,000 people across Afghanistan have been invited to a gathering of Islamic clerics, which is held at the Loya Jirga Hall on Thursday in Kabul and is expected to last for three days. PHOTO: FILE

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Islamic Emirate Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a press conference Thursday said the government feels obligated to listen to the opinions of the Islamic clerics at the national gathering being held in Kabul.

He said the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate Mawlawi Hibatullah may participate in the gathering, where roughly 3,000 people are invited from across the country – excluding former Afghan politicians.

“We will hear their voices and as they are participating in this major gathering, they will surely have their opinions and resolutions listened to and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan feels an obligation towards their views,” Mujahid said, as TOLOnews quoted.

Speaking to reporters, the spokesman said the gathering is held upon the request of clerics. Hence, the agenda of the talks also belongs to the participants, adding more than 1,200 forces of the Islamic Emirate have been appointed to provide security for the gathering.

“It has yet to be clarified but it is possible that (he: Mawlawi Hibatullah) may participate,” Mujahid said when asked about the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate’s participation in the gathering. “We don’t have information about (his) participation.”

“From across Afghanistan, from 34 provinces, from each district two clerics and one tribal elder and from each police district two tribal elders and one cleric have been invited to the gathering,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, as local media reported.

The gathering of Islamic clerics will be held for three days, where former Afghan politicians and women are not invited to the first grand assembly since the take over last August.

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As the country started to gather around 3,000 people from across Afghanistan, former politicians expressed criticism about the national assembly of Islamic clerics, saying inclusivity is the only way for solution that would benefit the nation as a whole.

They say without the participation of political figures at such gatherings, the door for formal recognition of the so-called Islamic Emirate government will not be opened – neither at local, nor at international level.

“If those individuals who are influential in different aspects participated, the council will surely find a good way to benefit the nation of Afghanistan and it would be effective for recognition of the Islamic Emirate by the international community,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, as TOLOnew quoted.

The remark came at a time prominent Afghan leaders including former President Hamid Karzai, former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, former chairman of the Senate Committee Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, were not invited to the gathering.

Meanwhile, some elders and young people from the southeast provinces of the country suggested attendees of the “Gathering of Islamic Clerics” discuss topic such as forming an inclusive government, the reopening of girls’ high school and finding a basic solution for the economic problems of the people.

Residents from Logar, Paktia, Khost, and Paktika provinces contributed to the gathering, saying the government should listen to the voices of the people and respect their rights.

“Our current problems should be resolved and a vertical roadmap should remain for the future of Afghanistan,” said Sarwar Ahmadzai, an elder of a tribe in Logar province, as TOLOnews wrote.

“These gatherings are crucial for Afghanistan if they are done honestly and the wishes of the people are respected,” said Lawanng Arman, a resident of Khost.

“A decisive decision should be taken in order to reopen girls’ schools and we urge the government to bring the country out of the current situation,” said Sayed Jamal Asifkhail, a civil society activist in Paktia.

At least 3,000 people across Afghanistan have been invited to a gathering of Islamic clerics, which is held at the Loya Jirga Hall on Thursday in Kabul and is expected to last for three days.

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