Afghan officials said on the 8th that at least 17 delegates to the grand jirga meeting opened the day before had tested positive for new coronavirus. The meeting will make a decision on whether to release about 400 disputed detainees, thus determining the direction of the Afghan peace process.
the grand jirga conference, also known as the Grand National Assembly, is organized by the Afghan high Peace Council. Tribal elders, elites from all walks of life and youth representatives participate in consultations to discuss issues such as promoting the government and talking about consolidating the process of national reconciliation.
the meeting was attended by more than 3600 representatives. The Afghan government is taking strict precautions against attacks and new coronavirus at the same time. Health Ministry spokesman said Jamie said 17 of the 3620 delegates tested were positive, and some tested twice.
Reuters reported that it is not clear whether the virus test was conducted before or after the meeting. There are concerns that, given the large number of participants, the virus may spread on a larger scale. Official data from Afghanistan show that a total of 37015 new coronavirus infections have been confirmed nationwide, with 1307 deaths.
the grand jirga meeting is scheduled to end on the 9th, when it will submit a non binding proposal to the government on the peace process in Afghanistan. Abdallah Abdallah, a former presidential candidate who was recently appointed chairman of the grand jirga conference, said on the 8th that the outcome of the meeting was related to the “survival” of Afghanistan.
the exchange of detainees between the Afghan government and the Chinese side is one of the main contents of the peace agreement reached between the United States and China at the end of February this year. According to the agreement, the Afghan government will release 5000 prisoners and guarantee the release of 1000 government detainees.
at the beginning of March, the Afghan government ordered the release of 5000 prisoners in batches in order to clear the obstacles to the peace process in Afghanistan. However, the process of exchanging detainees between the two sides was interrupted many times.
on July 7, the Afghan government announced that it would suspend the release of the last batch of 600 prisoners, saying that they were not only members, but also committed serious crimes. The Chinese side insists that the release of all prisoners is a prerequisite for the initiation of peace talks in Afghanistan. The Afghan government later released about 200 of them.
so far, the Afghan government has released more than 5000 detainees, excluding about 400 disputed personnel, and about 1000 Afghan security forces soldiers have been released. (field) (Xinhua special feature)