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Only Afghans can bring peace with unity: Hekmatyar

Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

KABUL: Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar on Thursday stressed the need for national unity in prevention of foreign interferences in Afghanistan and asked the Taliban to reconcile with the government.

Hekmatyar, who arrived in Kabul in a large convoy of vehicles, told a ceremony welcoming him at the Presidential Palace, that his party, the HIA, believed in freedom of expression and was not opposed to women’s education and work.

However, the HIA leader, who emerged from decades of hiding in eastern Laghman province last week, added that they were against women’s pedestrianism and those media outlets which fueled the conflict.

He said foreign forces could not bring peace to Afghanistan, but the Afghans could do it with their unity. He said he would support everyone who wished peace in the country.

Hekmatyar was received at the Presidential Palace by President Ashraf Ghani, his chief executive office Abdullah Abdullah, former jihadi leaders, lawmakers and politicians.

The HIA leader in his address thanked all those who supported the peace agreement between his party and the government in September.

“I wish former High Peace Council chief Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani was alive today. He would have seen that his dream of peace has come true today.”

He said it was high time to work together for peace and stability of the country and rescue the Afghans from decades of sufferings.

He asked foreign countries who saw their interest in a prolonged conflict in Afghanistan to stop interfering in internal affairs of the war-torn country and let the Afghans decide their fate themselves.

Hekmatyar also asked Iran not to exploit poverty and helplessness of Afghan refugees by sending them to the war in Syria and Iraq.

He said they recognized the Afghanistan Constitution for the sake of peace and they had some reservations about the article second and would put them before a loya jirga. He explained his party did not believe in parliamentary system, keeping in view the country’s current situation.

He said coalition governments in a country like Afghanistan could not deliver and it did not mean the HIA supported one leader and opposed the other in the unity government.

“I have come with the hope and will to bring back all refugee families. I have come with my family to send the message to all that Afghanistan is our home and graveyard.”

In a reference to the Taliban, Hekmatyar said they would not let anyone rule Afghanistan by force. “Come to end the conflict.”

He said they would accept every positive suggesion from the Taliban. He asked the Taliban to appoint their peace envoys and he would protect their legal rights.

Hekmatyar said former president Hamid Karzai had been calling the Taliban as brothers and he should not have walked back from the stance. “Those who lack courage to admit facts, cannot do big things,” said Hekmatyar, who asked the Taliban to take the path of peace in order to leave foreign forces with no excuse to stay.

He said 95 per cent American forces had exited Afghanistan and the US president had announced a timeline for the rest, but foreign intelligence agencies intensified in the conflict to keep the US engaged here. Kunduz was handed over to the Taliban and the incident prompted the US and its allies to keep forces in the country.

The HIA leader also said Afghans who enjoyed good relations with Pakistan would be sent to the neighbouring country to ask Islamabad to review its policy on Afghanistan.

He said they wanted a system in Afghanistan which had people’s backing, where justice prevailed and people were satisfied with its continuation.

“We promise today that we will not pursue a wrong policy and will find courage to tolerate each other.”’ He said some people still insisted on the stay of foreign troops despite the fact they could not bring peace or win the war.

He said he had told tribal elders in Nangarhar that they could keep security of their areas as well as of the whole of the country. Citing an example, he said, local residents of Zazi Maidan district of southeastern Khost province kept security of their areas on their own. -Pajhwok

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