HIA opposes Qatar process, insists on open talks
KABUL (PAN): The Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar, on Wednesday opposed covert peace talks between the Taliban and the US, insisting on a key role for the Afghan government in the process.
“The HIA is against the Qatar process, because there are several issues to be discussed. We prefer open talks to secret contacts,” the insurgent group, the second largest after the Taliban, said in a statement. It suggested the peace parleys should first take place with the Afghan government and then with foreigners.
“The dialogue with the US should focus on the withdrawal of foreign forces, while the issue of an interim setup be discussed with the Afghan government. The US has no right to decide on the future of Afghanistan,” the HIA said.
An HIA delegation, during its talks with the Afghan government and US officials in Kabul, had made its stance clear on the peace effort. “Unfortunately, both Afghan and US officials lack the desire and will to end the war or pave the ground for foreign troops’ unconditional pullout.”
The party renewed its call for the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, saying that the focus should be on key issues instead of minor ones. “Foreign troops should leave Afghanistan and neighbours stop interference.
“Let the Afghans decide the future of their country without any pressure or mediation from outside. Power should be transferred to a transitional government which can conduct an independent and impartial election,” the group suggested.
Both sides should respect the vote and no one should try in the future to bring about a revolution with foreign support, the statement continued.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News last week, Hekmatyar spurned the strategy of the United States and the Karzai administration for ending the decade-long conflict as unacceptable.
The former prime minister blamed Moscow and Washington for the current crisis in the country. He also assailed Pakistan and Iran for contributing to the situation.
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