Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.—File Photo

LONDON: Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in an interview published Wednesday has denied having any links with the Pakistan Taliban, condemning the Pakistani militant outfit’s strategy of blowing up schools and blocking girls’ education.

Hekmatyar, a former prime minister who leads Afghanistan’s second largest militant group Hizb-i-Islami, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that he was against the blowing up of schools and educational institutions “not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but elsewhere in the world.”

“I don’t think that a devoted mujahid could be involved in such things,” said Hekmatyar, accusing ‘foreign intelligence agencies’ of being involved in such attacks.

The Pakistani Taliban’s blocking of girls’ schooling was thrown into the spotlight in October by its attempted murder of 15-year-old education campaigner Malala Yousafzai on her schoolbus.

Hekmatyar indicated that Hizb-i-Islami, notorious for its bloody siege of Kabul in the 1990s, has softened some of its hardline Islamist policies which included banning women from education.

He insisted that the group considers “education is as necessary for girls as it is for boys”, though they object to combined male and female classes.

‘Ready to contest 2014 presidential elections’

In the video obtained by the Telegraph in response to questions asked through an intermediary, the Hizb-i-Islami leader said that his group was ready to contest the 2014 presidential elections on the conditions of a “complete withdrawal of all foreign forces” and equal representation of all parties for a “peaceful transition of the government” through “free and fair elections.”

“The foreign forces have failed and the situation is worsening by the day,” said the former premier, who is shown in the video with a white beard and wearing a black turban.

Hekmatyar, designated a global terrorist by the United States, warned that Afghanistan could collapse into bloody civil unrest after Nato troops withdraw, 13 years after the US-led invasion.

“We might have a dreadful situation after 2014 which no one could have anticipated.”

However, the Afghan warlord also vowed to kill as many Western soldiers as possible before Nato combat forces withdraw from the country in 2014, adding that fresh attacks would send a warning to “others waiting to invade Afghanistan”.

“Before the withdrawal of invading forces, the Mujahideen would like to witness with their own eyes a scene that will teach the invaders to never think of coming this way again,” he said.

Nato is aiming to train 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014 to take over responsibility for security.

But trust between the two sides has been seriously undermined by “insider” attacks by Afghan forces that killed more than 60 foreign troops in 2012, and the transition process has been beset by other problems including desertions.

Hekmatyar also blasted Britain’s Prince Harry, who has been serving in Afghanistan since September as an Apache helicopter pilot, as a “jackal” who was “drunk” while on duty.

“The British prince comes to Afghanistan to kill innocent Afghans while he is drunk,” Hekmatyar told the Telegraph.

A spokeswoman from Prince Harry’s office at Clarence House declined to comment on Hekmatyar’s remarks.

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Comments (8)

January 2, 2013 5:36 pm
Spot on Syed !! Why create such people in the first place. We should all live in our own countries in PEACE. We as citizens should play our role to ensure we have good governance through elections and rule of law. How can we empower people to do that, well, that can never be achieved via any form of foriegn aid, but by creating realistic budgets and having economy of scales. Managing a country is like managing your own business - some might think its foolish, but please think again. We must get our basics right in every respect.
January 2, 2013 4:09 pm
I think foreign invaders
Dr Khan
January 2, 2013 5:34 pm
he was a warlord before, he is a warlord now, he will be warlord in future. Its not a rocket science, you and I can decide. There were no foreign forces in Afghanistan from 1989 to 2001. And that was the bloodiest period that the Afghans had ever witnessed. He was one of the monsters who were involved in civil war. At that time he was fighting against Ahmad Shah Masud and later on taliban. He will keep fighting until he grabs power. Nature never changes.
January 2, 2013 3:35 pm
He is now a warlord and before he was mujaheedin. Question is who decides and assigns the titles
January 2, 2013 5:19 pm
these so called warlords are quite openly passing statement even then USA could not spot them???? this is realy ridiculous
January 2, 2013 7:06 pm
Like all the others in Afghanistan, he is and always was a tribal war lord. As for the title, it has nothing to do with reality or principle, it all depends on whether he is for or against western interest.
January 2, 2013 8:09 pm
I believe President Regan himself called Hekmatyar and his other mujahedeen colleagues, 'the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers'. He wasn't far off the mark, by the way, given the track record of the American founding fathers against the native peoples of North America.
January 5, 2013 11:26 pm
He was a Mujahadeen fighting a righteous battle against The Soviets and now a warlord fighting the USA which is different to the soviet war. They have been invaded brutally attacked upon so they have height to defend. The USA, SovIets, British all saw fghanistan as strategic to their political and economic gains but all lost their lustre in Afghanistan. Those who share a fate with Afghanistan belong with Afghanistan and that fate is recreation of modern Islamic central Asian economic block, political defence block. Those who seek the recreation a modern Khorasan with Afghanistan and with it Pakistan as the very core will see true stability across Central Asia. The region carved by the Russian Brifish empire needs to make a comeback, be it a modern Mughal or Ghaznavid or even a new Nadir Shah leading. Shah Masood was a great Mujahadeen as was Hekmatyar and their divide and dischord was manufactured by outsiders, lets hope this does not take place in 2014. May all Afghans finally come together as one. Pakthuns can never NEVER isolated from the future of Afghanistan.
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