After four months: Hizb-Kabul talks collapse

Published: June 28, 2016
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Hekmatyar refuses to accept Afghan-US security pact. PHOTO: FILE

Hekmatyar refuses to accept Afghan-US security pact. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: After four months talks between Kabul and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) have broken down, the group’s chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar claimed on Monday.

“The [National Unity] government wants Hizb to accept the security pacts with the United States. The government said it is a red line and cannot cross it. They say this agreement is obligatory and final. But we made it clear that we will not accept this red line,” former warlord Hekmatyar said in a Pashto-language statement titled “Enemies of peace have succeeded” published in the group’s newspaper on Monday.

Afghan officials in Kabul  confirmed the talks were deadlocked, adding they have yet to be formally informed about HIA’s decision.

HIA and Kabul started negotiations in March on the militant group’s  25 demands. The talks hit a deadlock on a number of issues, key among them evolving a time-frame for when foreign troops in Afghanistan will leave.

Hekmatyar blamed Kabul for the deadlock, saying the HIA “showed flexibility” on some issues including on troop withdrawal. The HIA leader said his negotiators suggested that controversial issues should be left for a collective decision between him and President Ghani but this suggestion was not accepted.

The HIA chief went on to allege the peace talks were sabotaged by those who imposed war on Afghans and earned money through the war. He rejected reports the HIA had attached new conditions to the talks, claiming instead that it was Kabul which suggested over 20 amendments in the approved draft of the peace agreement, adding the HIA has positively responded to appeals for peace negotiations.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2016.

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