A list of 200 Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) inmates has been sent to the president and they will be released soon, the commission overseeing the implementation of peace accord between the Afghan government and HIA group said on Tuesday (7 March).
But, HIA has blasted the government for slow implementation of the deal. They said the government has yet to meet the preconditions of Hizb-e-Islami before group’s leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar arrives in Kabul.
The release of the 200 HIA inmates; providing a safe residence for Hekmatyar and the allotment of 1000 residential plots for Hizb-e-Islami refugees are among the preconditions set by Hizb-e-Islami.
The deal with Hizb-e-Islami, Afghanistan’s second-biggest militant group, was made last September. The pact marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani, who has struggled to revive peace talks with the more powerful Taliban. At the time, USA commended Afghanistan for its achievement in forging an accord with Hizb-e Islami and Gulbuddin .
However, critics said it opened the door to one of the most infamous figures in Afghanistan’s civil war to play a role in the country’s already divisive politics.
The group is reportedly upset with government’s reluctance of implementation of the deal, which they complain has been ‘hindering the return of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Kabul.’
“Our complaint is that the government, given its available resources, should take swift action regarding these issues,” said Qariburrahman Saeed, head of the media section of Hizb-e-Islami.
In response to the allegations, officials from the Peace Accord Oversight Commission have rejected Hizb-e-Islami’s claims over government’s reluctance in implementing the deal, saying soon at least 60 of the Hizb-e-Islami inmates will be released from the jails.
The commission says the government has undertaken all necessary measures for the return of Hekmatyar, including security measures to ensure his safety in Kabul.
Sources say Hizb-e-Islami insists that the government must ensure the release some key figures such as Lotfullah Sadiq, Qazi Rahmandad and Najib, son of Bashir Baghlani among 200 other Hizb-e-Islami prisoners.
The Allotment of 1000 residential plots for Hizb-e-Islami detainees and the delivery of safe locations for residence of Hekmatyar in one of the eastern province of Laghman or Nangarhar are the main Hizb-e-islami conditions.
The accord grants Hekmatyar amnesty for his offences and the release of certain Hezb-i-Islami prisoners.
The government also agreed to press for the lifting of international sanctions on Hekmatyar, who was designated a “global terrorist” by the US for his suspected ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Once branded the “butcher of Kabul”, Hekmatyar was a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s who stands accused of killing thousands of people when his fighters fired on civilian areas of the capital city during the 1992-1996 civil war.