Afghan Jirgas and Shuras



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Afghan War News > Topics > Afghan Jirgas and Shuras

Afghanistan has a rich history of the use of jirgas and shuras. There are several types of jirgas and shuras. In simple terms, a jirga is a meeting held to resolve disputes which have an ad-hoc membership.

Governor's Shura in Bermel District 2010
Governor's Shura in Bermel District 2010 - Photo DVIDS

Meshrano Jirga. This is the upper house of the Afghan parliament.

Wolesi Jirga. The lower house of the National Assembly.

Loya Jirga. A traditional form of participatory decision making process, similar to a grand traditional assembly. In the 19th century Loya Jirga became a formal national consultative decision making body on critical national issues. Currently recognized by the constitution as an official body authorized to amend the constitution. The heads of state in Afghanistan also calls informal consultative Loya Jirga. 1.

Shuras. A council or group of people who discuss particular issues. Shuras can be held on a number of topics to include governance, security, and development.

Afghan Local Police Validation Shura Jani Khel 2012
Afghan Local Police Validation Shura, Jani Khel, 2012
Photo by SGT Cody Thompson, CJSOTF-A

Ulama Shuras. A committee of Islamic clergy or educated religious leaders and arbiters of Sharia law.

Publications on Jirgas and Shuras in Afghanistan
(listed in chronological order)

Gant, Jim and William McCallister, "Tribal Engagement: The Jirga and the Shura", Small Wars Journal, 2010.

Taizi, Dr. Sherzaman, Jirga System in Tribal Life, Tribal Analysis Center, April 2007.

Wardak, Ali, Jirga - A Traditional Mechanism of Conflict Resolution in Afghanistan, University of Glamorgan, UK, 2003. Posted on United Nations website.

Videos about Jirgas and Shuras in Afghanistan
(Listed in chronological order)

January 20, 2014. Jirgas by Khan Idris. A video by Scott Mann of the The Stability Institute conducting a book review of two books about jirgas.

November 28, 2013. What was the Loya Jirga about?. Uploaded to YouTube by NATO. Explains what a Loya Jirga is and how the BSA was discussed in the November 2013 Loya Jirga.

November 25, 2013. What You Need to Know About Afghanistan's Loya Jirga. Time World explains the Loya Jirga.

November 24, 2013. President Karzai's closing speech at Loya Jirga. Karzai gave a speech at the conclusion of the Afghan Loya Jirga in November 2013 that endorsed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States. Video uploaded by TOLO News on YouTube.

April 24, 2012. Afghan Women's Shura. Department of Defense video about an Afghan shura coordinated by ISAF.

July 12, 2010. U.S. Military Holds Afghan Shura to Reopen Medical Clinic in Zabul". Armed Forces Network Afghanistan. A video about a shura the Zabul Provinicial Reconstruction Team (PRT) held to reopen a mecial clinic in a contested village under intimidation by the Taliban.

News Reports about Jirgas and Shuras in Afghanistan

November 24, 2013. "Afghanistan's Loya Jirga: Q&A". BBC News Asia.

January 28, 2010. "FACTBOX - What is a Loya Jirga?". Reuters.

December 4, 2009. "Local shuras, jirgas and local community efforts in Afghanistan", This aricle looks at the role that tribal shuras are playing in conflict resolution between Afghan government officials and villages sympathetic to the Taliban.

September 10, 2009. "To Save Afghanistan, Look to Its Past". The New York Times. This news article examines the role the Loya Jirga can play in the establishment of a legitimate Afghan government.





1. Definition is found on page vi of Glossary of a document by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) dated September 2013.



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