KABUL, Afghanistan

Security tightened Kabul on Thursday with deployment of thousands of additional forces as the Afghan capital prepares to hold a grand consultative session of elders on peace with the Taliban.

In a statement, the president’s office said all preparations are in place to hold Friday the grand and traditional gathering “Loya Jirga” — the highest level of consultation of Afghan elders over a very serious issue of national concern.

“Many of the Loya Jirga participants have reached Kabul. The consultative Loya Jirga for peace would commence on Friday with the president’s speech,” presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said in a statement.

He said on Monday the moot would decide on the fate of 400 captive insurgents and other key issues such as a cease-fire extension, intra-Afghan talks and other issues that continue to hinder start of the proposed talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Downplaying the status and need of the Loya Jirga, the Taliban have demanded all obstacles in the way of peace should be avoided.

“It is imperative that all sides understand the need of this time and refrain from creating obstacles for the present opportunity,” a statement by the group said on Wednesday.

The Taliban insurgents announced a surprise three-day cease-fire during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha last week, which was welcomed and reciprocated by the Afghan government.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.