Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hekmatyar returns to Kabul after 20 years in hiding - aljazeera

After two decades in hiding, Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returned to Kabul on Thursday, pleading for peace as he was welcomed by the Afghan government at the presidential palace.

The controversial commander's arrival in the capital - a city his forces had shelled with thousands of rockets during the Afghan civil war - came after his largely dormant group signed a peace deal with President Ashraf Ghani's government in September.

A former prime minister, Hekmatyar was a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s and stands accused of killing thousands of people from 1992 to 1996.

A convoy of dozens of white pickup trucks carrying armed men and draped in Afghan flags and green banners made its way through the capital as it brought Hekmatyar from Jalalabad, the eastern city where he has been based for the past few days.

Calling his former allies in the Afghan Taliban "brothers", Hekmatyar, whose address at the presidential palace was frequently interrupted by shouts of acclamation, portrayed himself as a mediator able to bring peace.

That, he said, would remove the justification for the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan.

"The most important issue for me is to end this war and rescue the country from crisis," said Hekmatyar, calling on neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Iran not to interfere.

The Hizb-i-Islami leader said he had accepted the constitution drawn up following the US-led campaign that ousted the Taliban in 2001, but wanted it amended and said a parliamentary system was not appropriate for Afghanistan.

"I am not here for partnership. I have no conditions, I don't want ministries," he said. - More

Hekmatyar returns to Kabul after 20 years in hiding | Afghanistan ...


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