Hekmatyar Reaching Out to Kazai? Update

It looks like we have some confirmation of last week’s post on Hekmatyar’s letter to Karzai. The Afghan online news site Quqnoos is reporting that the President is indeed close to opening talks. Might we see a return of Hekmatyar to the Afghan government? The last time Hekmatyar held a government post, you might recall, he was much too busy shelling Kabul and murdering Afghans to attend to his government duties.

The Quqnoos story in full:

PRESIDENT Hamid Karzai’s office says it is “optimistic” about striking a peace-deal with the leader of one of the country’s most hard-line Islamic groups, Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), whose leader is on the US’s most wanted list of “terrorists”.

The president’s spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, said today (Tuesday) that there was fresh optimism about the possibility of holding talks with HIA’s leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is frequently accused of collusion with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“We are optimistic to have some developments for you in the near or far future,” Hamidzada said.

The spokesman was answering questions about claims that sources close to Hekmatyar said recently that the HIA leader planned to hold talks with Kabul in the near future.

Hekmatyar, who founded HIA in the mid-1970s, has reportedly tried to open negotiations with the Karzai government for the past four years. His group was long-considered one of the most radical Islamist groups before the emergence of the Taliban.

Hamidzada also said the president welcomed talks between Pakistan’s new coalition government and the Pakistani Taliban, although talks between the two sides recently broke down when the government refused to withdraw troops from the country’s tribal areas.

In April 2002, the US Central Intelligence Agency tried and failed to kill Hekmatyar with an unmanned predator drone.

Four years later, he was wrongly reported as captured before he allegedly took credit for Al-Qaeda leader Osma bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora during the US-led invasion of 2001.

In 2003, the US government blacklisted HIA a “terrorist” organisation and the UN put its leader’s name on a list of people accused of supporting the Taliban.

In related news, CBS has a video a interesting new interview with Hekmatyar, which you can watch it in full here – just after the ad for the new Buick Enclave.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.