Afghan President, Warlord sign peace agreement
President Ashraf Ghani inked deal with Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hezb-I Islami group in first peace treaty since the war with the Taliban began in 2001.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has formalized a peace treaty with Hezb-i-Islami, an armed group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a deal the government hopes will lead to more agreements with other fighters.
Hekmatyar also signed the agreement on September 30th via a video link into Kabul's presidential palace. The ceremony was broadcast live on television.
President Ashraf Ghani, signs a peace agreement with Hizb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, in Kabul, Afghanistan September 29th, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani)
It is the first peace treaty the Afghan government has completed since the war with the Taliban began in 2001.
The accord with the largely dormant Hezb-i-Islami has been welcomed by the international community as a possible template for any future peace deal with the Taliban, who have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years.
"This is a chance for the Taliban and other militant groups to show what their decision is: to be with people and join the respected caravan of peace, like Hezb-i-Islami, or confront the people and continue the bloodshed," President Ghani said.
Once sanctions are lifted, Hekmatyar is expected to return to Afghanistan after 20 years in exile. He is believed to be in Pakistan.
The head of his delegation in Kabul, Amin Karim, says this could happen within weeks./.
According to Reuters