Hekmatyar set to launch mass protest action in Kabul

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami party, on Thursday said his party is going ahead with demonstrations in Kabul as government has not complied with the party’s demands, which include the release of Hezb-e-Islami prisoners, the integration of his forces within the security forces, and the government’s continued resistance to the peace process.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Hekmatyar said the Hizb-e-Islami demonstrations will continue until the current government is dissolved and replaced by an interim government.

Last month a large number of Hizb-e-Islami protesters poured onto Kabul streets near the Presidential Palace chanting slogans against what they said were “those who hamper the peace process.”

Protestors gave government 10 days in which to meet their demands. At the time, protesters, led by Hekmatyar, accused government of orchestrating targeted attacks and called for an end to the violence.

“Preparations have been made for the demonstrations starting tomorrow, and security agencies have been notified,” Hekmatyar said.

Hekmatyar also said that demonstrations will start in other provinces in the near future.

“Our demonstration was supposed to start a few days ago, but the Moscow meeting postponed our demonstration,” he said.

He further added: “We call on government officials to stop the war and prepare for peace and agree on a government that is acceptable to all, and when these demands are met, we will stop our demonstrations,” Hekmatyar said.

Hekmatyar also said in addition to demonstrations, armed party members will hold meetings in parts of the country.

“In addition to the demonstrations, we may have armed Mujahideen meetings in some areas to show the nation and the international community that these forces have both weapons and areas under their control, but that they will not fight because of Hizb-e-Islami’s peace agreement with the government. They want to join the security forces, but the government did not fulfill its commitment,” said Hekmatyar.

He also said the Presidential Palace is under pressure and has realized the fact that it must give way to a new and acceptable government and be ready to transfer power.

Hekmatyar also raised the issue of President Ashraf Ghani’s early election plan but stated government does not have the support of “outsiders”.

“Agreeing to early elections means that the current government has no legitimacy, is not sustainable, and is no longer backed by outside supporters,” Hekmatyar added.

“At the Turkey Summit, talks should be focused only on withdrawal of foreign troops under the Doha agreement and the replacement of the current government with an acceptable transitional government,” he said.

Istanbul Summit preparations underway

Meanwhile, representatives of the United States, Turkey and the United Nations are in Doha currently and consulting with the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team and the Taliban.

According to sources, these meetings have been organized in order to set the agenda for the Istanbul Summit scheduled to be held in the next few weeks.

The High Council for National Reconciliation said Thursday that before the Istanbul Summit, the parties must reach an agreement on what is to be presented in Turkey.

“Representatives of the United States and Turkey, and the United Nations, are in Doha and, hosted by Qatar, have begun talks on how to set the agenda for a meeting between Turkey and the negotiating delegations of the two sides,” said Farooq Majroh, a member of the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team.