Hekmatyar threatens a revolt if govt fails to free prisoners

Leader of the Hezb-e-Islami party Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said on Sunday that if government failed to abide by conditions laid out in the US-Taliban agreement, signed in February last year, there would be a revolt and the Presidential Palace would fall.

Addressing an event to mark the 32nd anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet Union troops from Afghanistan, Hekmatyar said: “The US agreement with the Taliban is a necessity.

“The US has no choice but to leave Afghanistan,” he said adding that the “US has lost one of its most costly wars (Afghanistan),” Hekmatyar said.

He stated that the Afghan government has an obligation to end the war and that Hezb-e-Islami is “not willing to end its hostility towards government.”

Hekmatyar implied he would launch a protest action against government in a bid to “end the crisis” and even, “if necessary end the government.”

Hekmatyar also stated an interim government in Afghanistan was “a necessity.”

“The Afghan government is preparing for a new fighting season and is providing arms to militias,” Hekmatyar said adding that “weapons are distributed to those warlords who previously fought against the Taliban.”

Also addressing the event was former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni who said the Afghanistan political landscape was currently very “sensitive”.

He also said the peace talks in Doha are deadlocked.

According to him, the Taliban leadership believes the crisis can be solved through talks but the “young Taliban members want to continue violence.”

President Ashraf Ghani in turn spoke about the Soviet Union occupation and withdrawal of Russian troops 32 years ago.

He said: “The purpose of the jihad of our people was that after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, a system would emerge at the will of the people and to protect them.”

“But because the withdrawal of Soviet troops was not responsible and no measures were taken for the future of the country, Afghanistan was plunged into a multi-dimensional civil war that resulted in the security forces, national institutions and infrastructure of Afghanistan falling apart,” Ghani added.

“The opportunity for an end to war and peace in the country has now been created and we will achieve peace, we will achieve lasting peace,” he said.

Sunday’s event comes on the heels of confirmation by a number of sources that the peace talks between the Afghan Republic and the Taliban have stalled in Doha.

Talks which started in September last year were a result of the US-Taliban deal. As per the agreement, the US pledged to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by May this year.

The Taliban in turn pledged to reduce violence and cut all ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

However, the Taliban has been accused of not upholding its commitments and the US, under new President Joe Biden, has stated it is reviewing the deal signed by former Trump administration officials.

In line with this, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Sunday also addressed the event and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table and to reduce “the unjust human, material and moral costs of the war.”

The organization also stated there was a need for an immediate ceasefire, and the end to the war.

Hekmatyar, who is a veteran Afghan mujahideen leader, last year expressed his willingness to form an alliance with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In October Hekmatyar stated Hezb-e-Islami was ready for direct talks with the Taliban, as well as for a partnership and cooperation.

“We believe that if these two groups join hands, the crisis in Afghanistan will end soon and no force will be able to stand against it,” he said at the time.