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October 19, 2020

Hekmatyar arrives in Pakistan today for talks on Afghan peace

Top Story

October 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar will be arriving in Islamabad today (Monday) for talks on Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, officials confirmed on Sunday.

A warlord who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s and later served as the country’s prime minister, Hekmatyar will be on a three-day visit in Pakistan at the invitation of the Foreign Office. He leads Hizb-e-Islami, a militia which is also a political party.

The visit comes nearly three weeks after the official Islamabad trip of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) chairman Abdullah Abdullah — Afghanistan’s top envoy for the ongoing negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban — as Pakistan is engaged with all Afghan stakeholders for the sake of the peace process, the Pakistani ambassador to Kabul, Mansoor Khan told foreign media.

“We are in touch with President Ashraf Ghani and his government. We invited Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who is chairman of HCNR and also a leading politician in Afghanistan coming from the Jamiat-e-Islami party and had a useful exchange of views with him about the peace process and bilateral relations. Now we will be hosting Gullbuddin Hekmatyar who hails from another leading Afghan party Hizb-e-Islami,” Mansoor Khan was quoted as saying. He added: “Pakistan has a policy of expanding its outreach to all Afghan leaders and politicians so that conditions for the intra-Afghan negotiations remain conducive and the process continues to move forward.”

Prior to intra-Afghan talks in Doha, Qatar, which started on Sept. 12, Pakistan also hosted a Taliban delegation to discuss the peace process.

Hekmatyar’s upcoming visit was announced by Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, Mohammad Sadiq, who wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday that the Hizb-e-Islami leader will meet with the prime minister, president and other top officials. The Hizb chief will also meet the Jamaat-e-Islami chief, Senator Sirajul Haq, according to Hekmatyar’s schedule.

Hekmatyar’s son, Habibur Rehman, who will be in the delegation, described the visit as very important because of Pakistan’s key role in the peace process. “As Pakistan’s role is a key to the peace process, so we want to have a better understanding with Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying. “We will discuss the difficulties in the peace process and how to remove the obstacles, and how to make the peace process successful,” he said.