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Afghan leader Hekmatyar warns US against quitting peace deal

Former Mujahideen commander Hekmatyar says Biden will not gain anything from continuing Afghan war

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Former Afghan Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Sunday slammed the US for what he called an attempt to quit the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.

Addressing a gathering at his party headquarters in the capital Kabul to mark the 32nd anniversary of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, he warned US President Joe Biden against backtracking from a February 2020 agreement signed by his predecessor Donald Trump.

“Biden can neither gain from continuation of war in Afghanistan, nor can he compel the Taliban by violating the peace deal,” Hekmatyar, the head of the Hezb-e-Islami party, said. He led mujahideen fighters in the war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. He also served as prime minister in the 1990s.

Read more: India supporting terrorists in Afghanistan to spoil peace process: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

The former US president had sharply reduced the number of US troops in Afghanistan, but the new administration says it plans to review the deal citing increase in violence. The agreement calls for all international troops to pull out in exchange of security guarantees by the Taliban.

Government officials, journalists, as well as civil society activists continue to be targeted in Afghanistan. Most attacks remain unclaimed but the government blames the Taliban. Intra-Afghan negotiations to devise a roadmap for post-war Afghanistan also remain stalled.

The veteran leader, who signed a peace deal with President Ashraf Ghani in 2016, said the government has not fulfilled its promises such as release of party affiliates and incorporating them into the government.

He warned of surrounding the presidential palace if his demands are not met, adding that some elements in the government are hell bent on sabotaging the US-Taliban peace deal.

Meanwhile, the insurgents have warned NATO against extending their stay in Afghanistan.

“Our message to the upcoming NATO ministerial meeting is that the continuation of occupation and war is in no one’s interest,” the group announced in a statement on Saturday.

Read more: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar appreciates Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace talks

On Feb. 4, the NATO secretary-general said that the alliance’s presence in Afghanistan is a decision that should be made with consensus.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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