ISLAMABAD: The Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Wednesday hinted at “signing a peace deal in days” with the government as both sides have made “substantial progress” in negotiations, the HIA sources privy to the on-going talks said.
The HIA, the second largest resistance group in Afghanistan, will declare a ceasefire as the group formally inks an agreement in Kabul, the sources told The Express Tribune from Kabul.
Hizb-e-Islami to join Afghan peace talks
Over the past few weeks, a five-member delegation of the Hizb leaders had been involved in talks with the government-sponsored High Peace Council and security officials over a 25-point agenda.
Some of the key points are withdrawal of foreign forces, removal of the name of Hekmatyar and other Hizb leaders' from the US, UN blacklists, release of all prisoners and shifting of the “Shamshato refugees camp” from Pakistan to Afghanistan.
The camp known as Nasrat Mina is located near Peshawar and mostly houses Hizb’s sympathisers.
Afghan officials have indicated they would approach the UN and the US for lifting Hekmatyar’s name from the terror list after the peace deal is signed.
Afghan peace process: Party wants curbs on Hekmatyar lifted
Although Hizb is not as strong it had been in the past, its current talks with the government assumed importance in the wake of the Taliban’s rejection of the peace process.
A presidential adviser, Qutbuddin Hilal, said this week that Hekmatyar will come to Afghanistan after the deal is inked. Whereabouts of Hekmatyar, who had briefly served as prime minister, have been unknown since 2001.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2016.