Ghani formalises peace deal with ‘Butcher of Kabul’
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.