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Hekmatyar warns New Delhi: India should not use Afghan soil against Pakistan

Hekmatyar commends Prime Minister Imran Khan’s longstanding stance on peace in Afghanistan

By News Report
August 23, 2021

KABUL: Former prime minister of Afghanistan and Hezb-e-Islami chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Sunday said India should focus on its internal issues instead of issuing statements about the future of Afghanistan.

"India should refrain from using the Afghan soil against Pakistan to take revenge for Kashmiris’ struggle in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir," he said while talking to the state-run Pakistan Radio.

Hekmatyar said some "hostile agencies of foreign countries are busy instigating the Afghan people to revolt." He also said formal talks among the Afghan groups to form a negotiated government will start after complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in the next few days.

Hekmatyar also commended Prime Minister Imran Khan’s longstanding stance on peace in Afghanistan. He said he hoped there would soon be a government in Kabul, which would be acceptable to the Afghan people and the international community.

He said all the stakeholders were aware that the Afghan political leaders and the Taliban should formally sit at the negotiating table to form a new government in Afghanistan, adding that informal interactions were taking place in this regard and soon these contacts will convert into formal talks.

He said the Taliban, in their statements, had been saying that they did not want to impose an Islamic emirate of their own choice and would prefer to establish a dispensation in consultation with all stakeholders.

In an interview with the APP, Hekmatyar said an inclusive government comprising all the other political groups was the need of the hour. "Such a government could stop further bloodshed in Afghanistan and steer the war-ravaged country out of the present crisis," he said.

He said initial talks about the formation of a new government had been started after the Doha peace agreement and expressed the hope that formal talks among all the groups would be started soon after complete evacuation of the US and Nato troops from Afghanistan.

He said the future proposed government would have the support of all the Afghan ethnic groups. He said the entire Afghan political leadership should sit together to resolve the issue and added it was the only solution to the Afghan issue. He was of the view that all issues would be resolved through a political dialogue.

“The Afghans have been tired of the long-conflict and fighting and now they want to bring peace and stability to their war-torn country and collectively work for its reconstruction and progress,” he said, adding that the Afghans were determined to forget their past and go ahead unitedly realizing the future challenges of the country.

Responding to a question about the failure of talks, he said, “Our enemy can cast negative impact on the Afghan peace process but the US and other forces had no right to interfere in the Afghanistan issue.

“It is the sole prerogative of the Afghan people to decide about their future.” Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban have extended their amnesty to deposed president and vice president Ashraf Ghani and Amrullah Saleh respectively, allowing them to return to Afghanistan if they so wished.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, senior Taliban leader Khalil ur Rahman Haqqani said, "There is no enmity between the group and Ashraf Ghani, Amrullah Saleh and former national security advisor, Hamdullah Mohib.”

"We forgive Ashraf Ghani, Amrullah Saleh and Hamdullah Mohib," said Haqqani, adding that enmity between the Taliban and the three was only on the basis of religion. "We forgive everyone from our end; from the general [who fought in the war against us] to the common man," he said.

Haqqani urged people not to fleeing the country adding that the "enemy" was spreading propaganda that the Taliban will exact revenge on them. "Tajiks, Balochs, Hazaras and Pashtuns are all our brothers," he added.

"All Afghans are our brothers and hence they can return to the country," he said. "The sole reason for our enmity was driven by the ambition to change the system. The system has now changed," he added.

Haqqani said the Taliban were not the ones who went to war against the US, adding that the group had decided to take up arms against the US after it invaded their homeland and fought against its culture, religion and country.

"The Americans were using weapons against us, on our homeland," he said, adding that God gave the Taliban American weapons as the spoils of war. He said the Taliban had achieved a huge victory over their enemies, adding that the Afghanistan Army consisted of 350,000 troops and was supported by the US, Nato and other countries.

Haqqani said the Taliban wanted all Muslim countries to reconcile with one another. He advised countries worldwide to provide due rights to their citizens, adding that an inclusive Afghan government will be formed in Afghanistan.

"Highly capable, educated people will form the government in Afghanistan. People who unite the masses will be included in the new government." Promising a government that would represent all groups within Afghanistan, Haqqani said people from all schools of thought were pledging their allegiance to the Taliban.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday rejected the idea of sending evacuees from Afghanistan to countries near Russia, saying he did not want "militants showing up here under cover of refugees", Russian news agencies reported.

Putin criticised the idea of some Western countries to relocate refugees from Afghanistan to neighbouring Central Asian countries while their visas to the United States and Europe were being processed.

"Does that mean that they can be sent without visas to those countries, to our neighbours, while they themselves (the West) don't want to take them without visas?" TASS news agency quoted Putin as telling leaders of the ruling United Russia party.

"Why is there such a humiliating approach to solving the problem?" he said. Putin said Russia, which allows visa-free travel for residents of ex-Soviet Central Asian countries, opposes that. "We don't want militants showing up here under cover of refugees," TASS cited Putin as saying.

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Taliban leaders had stuck to their promises so far. "We are seeing the statements the Talibs made about ceasing combat actions, an amnesty for all of those involved in the confrontation, about a need for a nationwide dialogue ... they are being implemented," he was cited by RIA as saying.

Lavrov said the Taliban had started contacts with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. In a related development, Britain Sunday said seven Afghans had died in chaos near the Kabul airport.

"Our sincere thoughts are with the families of the seven Afghan civilians who have sadly died in crowds in Kabul," a defence ministry spokesman said without giving the circumstances.

Britain´s Sky News had on Saturday aired footage of at least three bodies covered in white tarpaulins outside the airport. Sky reporter Stuart Ramsay, who was at the airport, said people at the front of one part of the crowd were being "crushed", while others were "dehydrated and terrified".

The defence ministry spokesman said, "Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible." The Taliban Sunday blamed the US for the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from the capital.

"America, with all its power and facilities... has failed to bring order to the airport. There is peace and calm all over the country, but there is chaos only at Kabul airport," Taliban official Amir Khan Mutaqi said. Britain's defence ministry said Sunday seven people had died in the chaos.

Meanwhile, the United States has urged its citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to Kabul airport, citing "potential security threats" near its gates. "We are advising US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative," the alert from the US embassy in Kabul said.