- Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, known for his support to the Islamic State in Afghanistan, has expressed willingness to participate in the ongoing peace talks in the country
- The announcement comes as a splinter Taliban group refused to participate in the scheduled talks
- Hekmatyar, as well as other members of his group Hezb-e-Islami, have been listed as \"global terrorist\" by the US
Afghan warlord and Islamic State sympathiser Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has expressed willingness to be part of the ongoing peace efforts in Afghanistan.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Hezb-e-Islami, the group led by Hekmtyar, condemned US's decision to blacklist two members of the HIA-Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor. However, it added that they were still willing to be part of the ongoing peace process. "Despite we observe that the U.S. favours war. we are ready to participate in negotiations," it read.
The statement implied that the group had accepted an offer by the Afghan president to be part of the ongoing talks, negotiated by the US, China, and Pakistan, also referred to as the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG).
This announcement comes at a time when Taliban have denied their participation in the peace efforts. Direct talks between Afghanistan and Taliban were set to take place at some point in March. However, a splintered faction of the insurgent group, led by the new leadership after reports of the death of founder Mullah Omar last year, has refuted claims of participating in the talks.
On the other hand, Hekmatyar, who is currently based in Pakistan, has been attempting to make a comeback in the Afghan political scene for a while now. He has been blacklisted by the United Nations and listed as a "global terrorist" by the United States.
#Afghanistan: Kabul's desperation on show as it invites Gulbuddin Hekmatyar- designated global terrorist & ISIS sympathizer- to peace talks.- Frud Bezhan (@FrudBezhan) March 13, 2016
Hekmatyar is like nuclear waste, hazardous and of no use. Pakistan wants to bury him in Afghanistan.Big mistake to bet peace on him.- Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) March 13, 2016
Founded in 1977, Hezb-e-Islami have endorsed extremist views and were notorious for their radical interpretation of Islam. Hekmatyar also briefly severed as the prime minister of Afghanistan in the 1990s.
Hekmatyar had the support of the American CIA during the Anti-Soviet War, and later the Pakistan's intelligence, that is until the rise of Taliban, when Hekmatyar was sidelined by his allies.
However, in early 2015, Hekmatyar expressed interest in wanting to be an interlocutor for the Afghan peace process and allegedly sent his representatives to communicate the offer.
He allegedly also extended support to the notorious terror group Islamic State, also known as Daesh, and its activities in Afghanistan, even though, in a later statement denied having made such claim.
It is also believed that the Hezb-e-Islami has increased its activities in the last decade with claims of attacks on aid workers and against US military.