HI of Hekmatyar set to join Ghani govt in Afghanistan

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Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan led by the prominent Warlord Engineer Gulbadin Hekmatyar is all set to join the Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan with the later signing a peace pact with the former on Thursday, despite the US resistance. Political observers believe the step will pave the way for ensuring peace in the war and insurgency ridden country. The move is however unlikely to get endorsement from Washington that enjoys complete influence over the ruling set up in Kabul.
The deal with Afghanistan’s second-biggest Mujahedeen group that has been largely inactive in the recent years, many observers believe, marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani, who has been struggling to revive peace talks with Taliban and other warring factions in the country that has been facing militancy, bloodshed and uncertainty over the decades.
“This agreement is signed after two years of negotiations between the High Peace Council (HPC) , the leadership of the Afghan Government and the Hezb-e-Islami. Today the peace dialogues have been successfully completed”. The deputy Chief of HPC Habiba Sorabi said at the ceremony in Kabul where Hezb-e-Islami delegation shook hands with members of the High Peace Council, responsible for reconciliation efforts with militants or the warring factions of Taliban, and the national security adviser of Afghanistan.
The agreement will come into force when it is formally signed by President Ashraf Ghani and Hekmatyar, the government has said, though no date has been set.
Though Gulbadin Hekmatyar ,a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s, was accused of killing thousands of people in the Afghan capital during the 1992-1996 civil war, he was considered one of the sensible and educated Warlords in Afghanistan yet offering tough resistance to American influence in Kabul. The agreement will pave the way for him to stage a comeback in mainstream politics in a pattern well established by other warlords, such as General Abdul Rashid Dostum, currently the country´s first vice president..
According to an initial draft agreement, the government will offer Hekmatyar legal immunity in “all past political and military proceedings” as well as release of Hezb-e-Islami prisoners.
Hekmatyar is designated a “global terrorist” by the US government as he offered tough resistance to US unofficial occupation in Afghanistan However, the Afghan government, analyst believe, will work towards lifting those restrictions in order to reintegrate him into local politics.
The US State Department had earlier said Washington was not involved in the talks but welcomed the potential truce with Hekmatyar.
The US was alleged in the past to have sabotaged dialogue process in Kabul with the militant groups.