Inclusive Afghan government imperative for regional peace, says Hekmatyar

Published August 22, 2021
Hizb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks during an event at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in Islamabad on Oct 21. — AFP
Hizb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks during an event at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in Islamabad on Oct 21. — AFP

Veteran Afghan politician and Hizb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has praised the long-standing stance and efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue, saying an inclusive government comprising all political groups is the need of the hour.

“Such a government could stop further bloodshed in Afghanistan and steer the war-ravaged country out of the present crisis,” he said in an exclusive interview with APP in Kabul, a week after the Taliban seized control of the country.

The former Afghan commander noted that initial talks about the formation of a new government had been started in Afghanistan after the Doha peace agreement.

He expressed the hope that formal talks among all the groups would start soon after the complete evacuation of US and Nato troops from Afghanistan.

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He said the proposed inclusive government would have the support of all Afghan ethnic groups, stressing that the entire Afghan political leadership should sit together to resolve the conflict.

He was of the view that all issues would be resolved through political dialogue.

"The Afghans are tired of the long conflict and fighting and now they want to bring peace and stability to their country and collectively work for its reconstruction and progress," he said, adding that Afghans were determined to forget their past and move forward together while realising the future challenges of the country.

Responding to a question about the failure of intra-Afghan talks, he said: "Our enemy can have a negative impact on the Afghan peace process but the US and other forces have no right to interfere in the issue. It is the sole prerogative of the Afghan people to decide about their future."

Asked about the differences between the current and past Taliban rules, he said all Afghans had suffered a lot from the continuous war and now they had learnt from their mistakes. “There was also a positive change in the present Taliban,” he added.

About India's role in Afghanistan, the Hizb-i-Islami chief said they hoped that New Delhi would now play a positive role in Afghanistan and review its past policy in this regard.

He noted that India had once supported the former Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, was against the Mujahideen, and had also backed the Nato strikes in Afghanistan.

"India should not transfer its conflicts with Pakistan to Afghanistan," he said, adding that the Afghan soil would not be allowed to be used for proxy wars.

Hekmatyar said peace and stability were in the best interest of the entire region including India.

He expressed the hope that India would support the Afghan people and their struggle for the restoration of peace.

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