Ghani formalises peace deal with ‘Butcher of Kabul’ [IR]
- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani formalized a controversial accord with one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, militant faction of Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - deal government hopes will lead to more peace agreement.
- A controversial figure from the insurgency against the Soviets in the 1980s and the civil wars of the 1990s, Hekmatyar has been designated a “global terrorist” by the United States, which has been leading an international military mission in Afghanistan for the past 15 years.
- Hekmatyar, who served as prime minister in the 1990s, before the rise to power of the Taliban, has long been known as close to neighbouring Pakistan.
- His faction of Hezb-i-Islami has played a relatively small role in the current conflict, in which the Taliban have a leading role in battling the Western-backed government in Kabul.
- Peace talks with the Taliban, the largest insurgent group, have yet to get off the ground, but both sides have said they are open to the idea.