After many delays, several faux pas, and much discourse over conflicting goals and a lack of direction, the much-awaited peace jirga kicked off this morning – with a bang.
The usual bang – or bangs – it must be said, although this time, the rockets came pretty close.
The first one came just as Afghan President Hamid Karzai was delivering the inaugural address inside the giant white tent erected on the grounds of the Kabul Polytechnic University.
It did however provide an opportunity for some quintessentially Karzai stabs at humor. “Perhaps someone’s trying to fire a rocket,” he quipped in deadpan mode. “Even a three-year-old would not be afraid. Let’s continue.” And continue he did, to his credit.
But then, as the sounds of rockets and gunfire inched closer, Karzai wrapped up his speech and promptly left.