Hekmatyar lays down arms

20 Jul 2007


KABUL, July 19: Afghan militant leader and Taliban and Al Qaeda ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has declared a ceasefire against Afghanistan’s government, according to a statement. He is wanted by the Afghan government and US authorities.

Aired by two private television channels and circulated in Kabul, the statement said: “Members of Hezb-i-Islami have stopped and refrained from brother killing and from the destruction of the country and assumed political activity because it believes the Americans, like the British and Russians, will pull out (of Afghanistan),” said the statement issued on Thursday.

“Hence, now we have to unite for creating an Islamic system and start our political efforts so that we can provide a tranquil life and everlasting peace for our Muslim countrymen,” it said.

It was not immediately clear when and where the statement was issued and Mr Hekmatyar’s sympathisers could not be contacted for verification. An Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman said he was not aware of the statement and other government officials were not immediately available for comment.—Reuters