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Hizb-e-Islami Suspends Peace Talks with Kabul

March 29, 2012

Never quite sure whether to find the dealings of Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (aka HIG) funny or tragic.   Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one time Mujahideen commander, one-time Afghan Prime Minister, former darling of the ISI, all-time war criminal and the destroyer of Kabul.  He and his little band of insurgents remain unpleasantly capable of killing people and blowing things up but, these days, are dwarfed, in terms of influence and military capability, by the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.  There is a significant political grouping of Hezb-e Islami in goverment and parliament.  But the Hezb-e Islami faction under Hekmatyar alienated themselves early on and frankly, not many people are inclined to trust him.  Hekmatyar still believes himself to be very important (I am sure he would accept nothing less than a Prime Ministership again) and has spent the last 10 years trying to regain some kind of power.  To retain his relevance, he usually attempts to stay a hair’s breadth closer to the negotiating table than the Taliban.   This, obviously, isn’t all that close to the table anyway.  Once a year he drops hints that he might reconcile or is open to talks.  To be fair, he probably is relevant to Karzai who has been rejected by the Taliban as someone they might talk to.   Hekmatyar is perhaps currently the only real indication that Karzai and his team are actively involved in dialogue of any sort.   Hekmatyar’s statements are usually little more than attention seeking tantrums and he is here simply copying the Taliban; I would be much more inclined to trust the Taliban in any political deal than him, lets just leave it at that…

Coming to a negotiating table near you. Or possibly not...

Tolo News, 29 March 2012: The second largest Afghan insurgent group, Hizb-e-Islami, has suspended peace talks with the Afghan government, a move comes two weeks after the Taliban made a similar decision, reports said.  

It’s said to be another setback to efforts toward a peaceful resolution to the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

Hizb-e-Islami is breaking off dialogue with the Afghan government, said the group’s European representative, Qaribur Rahman Saeed.

The Afghan government who had expectations to broker a peace deal with the Hizb-e Islami has yet to make a comment on suspension of talks.

President Karzai said in January that he had personally held peace talks with Hizb-e-Islami that he hoped would continue and be fruitful.

Hizb-e-Islami operatives have been attacking Afghan and Nato troops in east and northeastern regions of Afghanistan, where the group is said to have its main strongholds.

Saeed said the first official Hizb-e-Islami delegation held talks with the Afghan government in February 2010 and presented a 15-point peace plan. Then, in December 2011, at the request of the US, a Hizb-e-Islami delegation went to Kabul and met with American, Afghan, NATO and military coalition officials and had a working meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Saeed said.

“Since both of you (US and Kabul authorities) don’t have any practical and acceptable approach for the solution of the crisis, the negotiation is going to be suspended,” Hekmatyar said in a statement that Saeed released to The Associated Press.

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