Gulbadin Hekmatyar, the leader of insurgent group Hizb-e-Islami has been showing green signals to Government offers of negotiations. It was expected due to the internal rifts of this group, which used to have some influential street power in some parts of Kabul during the civil war and later. A break-away faction of Hizb-e-Islami supported President Karzai in elections, and they were promised a ministry. President Karzai was encouraged to outline the current plan of negotiators with insurgents based on the same green signals from Hizb-e-Islami. Let’s have a glimpse of Hekmatyar’s post-9/11 profile.
On 19 February 2003 the United States State Department and the United States Treasury Department jointly designated Hekmatyar a “global terrorist”. The US Government also requested the United Nations Committee on Terrorism to follow suit, and designate Hekmatyar an associate of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. In May 2006, Hekmatyar released a video to, Al Jazeera, the only media network that all international terrorists are fond of, in which he said to be ready to fight alongside Osama Bin Laden and blamed the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on US interference. Later in December 2006, another video of Hekmatyar was released in Pakistan, where he claimed “the fate Soviet Union faced is awaiting America as well.”
In January 2007 CNN reported that Hekmatyar claimed “his fighters helped Osama Bin Laden escape from the mountains of Tora Bora five years ago.” In another interview to Pakistani news channel Geo TV Hekmatyar said “we helped them [Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri] get out of the caves and led them to a safe place.
Hezb-e-Islami (Hekmatyar) is also thought to be behind the 2 January 2008 shooting down of a helicopter containing foreign troops in the Laghman province and the shooting and forcing down a U.S. military helicopter in the Sarubi district of Kabul on 22 January and blowing up a Kabul police vehicle in March 2008, killing 10 soldiers.
Seeing all these, it seems interesting how Hekmatyar showed willingness for talks with the Government. The split-away of his many important commanders making a different faction of Hizb-e-Islami and joining the political mainstream is the main reason. Being underground, Gulbadin Hekmatyar is no more that influential on ground. He was born in Kunduz and belongs to Kharoti tribe. Tribalism is the most important factor of politics in Afghanistan. It even plays the vital role in ranks of insurgents. Hekmatyar belongs to Kharoti tribe, and he is not with influential tribal roots. He was getting more alienated from his supporters. Being opposed with Taliban factions, and loosing away important commanders, he was becoming only a symbolic name due to his influential role in Mujahideen Government and prior to that in the Soviet resistance.
When Taliban took over Kabul and most parts of Afghanistan, Hekmatyar fled to Iran in 1997 where he was living for over six years. He wrote some Jihadi books calling his fellow Muslims to join Jihad against the US. Tehran used to support his insurgent group for seven consecutive years. Under extreme international pressure, on 10 February 2002 all the offices of Hezb-e-Islami were closed in Iran and Hekmatyar was expelled by his Iranian hosts. Since then he has been leading the group of militants.
The Government has welcomed Hekmatyar’s green signal. Negotiation is important approach of the solution in Afghanistan, but there should be limits and conditions in this process. It’s not a business deal or political accord. Blood of more than a million lives was shed. Those responsible, the militant leadership, should not go without accountability. Be it the Government or international community, ruining the human rights accords for a political deal will not be acceptable by majority of the people of Afghanistan.