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Hekmatyar sets terms for poll participation

Hekmatyar sets terms for poll participation

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Jan 26, 2013 - 16:58

 KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistaninfo-icon (HIA) leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar has offered the Kabul government a two-point proposal for his group's participation in the 2014 presidential election.

In his latest interview with a local private TV channel, Hekmatyar said they would field a presidential candidate if their demands -- a complete pullout of foreign troops and vote transparency -- were endorsed.

He condemned as unfair the electoral policy that he said had been evolved by foreigners and imposed on the Afghans. "We want the sovereignty of Afghanistan protected -- something that lies in a complete pullout of foreign troops.

“We want elections to be free of fraud, but will not accept the wrong election policy that has been imposed on the Afghans by foreigners," said Hekmatyar, who asserted his belief in people's right to vote and urged them to pick honest leaders.

Reminded of the Afghanistan High Peace Councilinfo-icon's calls for lifting restrictions on his movement, the HIA leader said it was not worth commenting on. "It seems to me of a little importance," he observed.

Hekmatyar said he did not travel to foreign countries and had no account or money in banks. Restrictions on him had no impact on his movement, the rebel leader said.

He lampooned the US announcement of handing over all prisoners and inmates to Afghan control, saying it would happen automatically because the Americans were left with no option but to leave.

"When the Americans want to subject detainees to harsh punishment, they transfer them to Afghan custody. You can't expect anything better from the Americans in this context," Hekmatyar commented.

About his group's contact with the Kabul administration, the HIA leader said they were not in good healthinfo-icon, pending a final White House decision on the US troop presence in Afghanistan.

Hekmatyar ruled out negotiations with the Karzai government if it granted immunity to post-2014 American soldiers. "In such a case, we would have no other option except continuing our armed resistance," he warned.

ma/mud

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