Landmark peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami signed in Kabul

hiaKABUL: The Ashraf Ghani administration and the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) on Thursday signed a landmark peace deal after two years of negotiations.

On behalf of the government, the agreement was signed by High Peace Council (HPC) Chairman Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani and National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar.

Eng. Mohammad Amin Karim and Political Affairs head Ghairat Baher affixed their signatures to the pact, the first of its kind since 2001, which is expected to help boost prospects for lasting peace in the country.

The HIA — the second largest insurgent outfit in Afghanistan after the Taliban — has agreed to embrace the country’s constitution and dismantle its armed wing under the peace accord. In return, the government has promised the release of HIA prisoners and lifting all restrictions on the group.

Release of prisoners by both sides, the appointment of HIA supporters to government jobs and inclusion of its leadership in the decision-making process on key political issues are among major points of the deal.

The two sides have also agreed on making HIA part of the electoral reform process and repatriation of Afghan refugees from the Nasrat Mena camp and other parts of Pakistan. They pledged unconditional adherence to the principles of Islam.

Under the agreement, protection of national interest and enforcement the rule of law will be a joint responsibility of the two parties, which agreed the Afghans could ward off any threat though unity.

On the withdrawal of foreign forces, the draft agreement says both sides held their own views. “Although they held out pledges for the implementation of mutually agreed documents, the HIA wanted a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces.”

After the signing of the agreement, the government has promised approaching the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) to lift sanctions on HIA as soon as possible.

The government has also recognised the HIA right to a political struggle and would pave the way for the group’s participation in the election reform process.

Article 9 of the agreement says: “Jihadi leader Gulbadin Hikmatyar, through a special presidential decree, would be given an extraordinary honour and privilege for his effort for peace and stability in the country.”

The HIA chief could choose two or three areas for his residence in the country and the government would provide all expenses of his living in addition to ensuring his security. -Pajhwok

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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