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Afghan govt welcomes HIA decision to join peace process

Afghan govt welcomes HIA decision to join peace process

Mar 13, 2016 - 13:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistaninfo-icon (HIA), led by Gulbadin Hikmatyar, on Sunday announced participation in a peace process headed by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG).

The breakthrough was announced in a statement from the group, which said it wanted to show to the nation its belief in peace, But the US and the circles allied with it were opting for continued war, the HIA alleged.

Meanwhile, Afghan government welcomed the preparedness of Hikmatyar for peace parleys. The deputy spokesman of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Javed Faisal, said that Afghan government was committed to inter-Afghans peace talks and would continue their efforts in this regard. He called on other armed anti-government groups to come to negotiation table.

HIA, the second largest militant outfit behind Talibaninfo-icon, assailed the US for declaring two of its members as terrorists. Washington blacklisted the two HIA members at a time when President Ashraf Ghani requested Gulbadin Hikmatyar to join the peace process.

“It seemed the US is still keen on fighting and wants more bloodshed,” the statement added.“The US insists on war and bloodshed in Afghanistan and some circles within the government see the peace initiative threat, the HIA has decided to take part in the peace process.”

A source within the HIA told Pajhwok Afghan News a delegation had been appointed to take part in QCG meetings.

Earlier, The US designated two explosive experts, Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor, as global terrorists.

The move comes a year after the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) programme announced rewards for information on Nowbahar and Saboor. The secretary of state authorised a reward of up to $3 million for information on Saboor and $2 million on Nowbahar.

Noting that Nowbahar and Saboor are explosive experts for Hezb-i-Islami, the State Department said both participated in the September 18, 2012 attack on a bus carrying foreign employees of the Kabul International Airport. A dozen people were killed.

Saboor was also responsible for a May 2013 suicide attack in Kabul that destroyed a US armored vehicle, killing two soldiers and four US civilian contractors. Eight Afghans -- including two children -- were also killed and another 37 wounded.

Khoshal Khalil, a Kabul-based political analyst, criticised the US move and said Washington should understand delicate peace process and avoid such steps at the current critical juncture. He asked the US to avoid such actions at a time when Ghani wooed the HIA to the negotiating table.

Khalil welcomed the HIA decision to take part in peace process, saying it would encourageother militant groups to join the dialogue. He said HIA was a large party, whose inclusion in the peace process would help stabilise the country.



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