Afghan militant leader ready for talks: Report
Kabul: The leader of Afghanistan's
second-biggest insurgent group said in an interview published
on Sunday that he was ready for "meaningful talks" with all
parties to end the decade-long war.
The statement by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of
Hezb-i-Islami, comes after an announcement by the main
insurgent group, the Taliban, that they will open a political
office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the US.
But Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister, was
dismissive of the results of contacts he said Hezb-i-Islami
had already had with Washington and the government of
President Hamid Karzai.
"We held talks with Kabul government as well as with the
Americans on different occasions, but did not receive any
clear, acceptable and realistic plan from them worth
mentioning," he told the Afghan Islamic Press news agency.
"The Kabul government is powerless and the Americans have
no plan acceptable to the Afghan nation and the mujahideen
Any negotiations should "pave (the) way for an agreed
plan for the unconditional withdrawal of the foreign forces,
guaranteeing Afghanistan's independence, Afghans' right to
decide their fate and their national integrity," he said.
Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said nearly two weeks
ago that a delegation representing the group had travelled to
Kabul and met the president "in a good atmosphere, and the
results were good".
A palace official said that Hekmatyar's delegation
included Ghairat Baheer, one of his main lieutenants, and that
after meeting Karzai they met US embassy officials.
Hekmatyar, a marginalised Afghan warlord whose party was
first established in the 1980s to resist the Soviet occupation
of Afghanistan, leads thousands of fighters in the east and
northeast of the country.
The group has claimed responsibility for several deadly
attacks including the 2008 assault on French troops in Surobi
district of Kabul that left 10 French soldiers dead.
That attack was also claimed by the Taliban, who were
ousted from government by a US-led invasion in 2001.