Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Taliban, Hekmatyar: Is a new war in offing?

Thursday 30/March/2023 - 12:07 AM
The Reference
Mohamed Youssri

Afghanistan has been the scene of civil war between warlords for many years, after the overthrow of former President Mohammad Najibullah and his execution in 1992.

Around 50,000 civilians have died in the capital Kabul alone since 2016.

The capital also witnessed the return of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, after his name was removed from a list of wanted persons.

Hekmatyar's return to activity was marked by oscillation between the Taliban and other political forces in Afghanistan.


On February 4, people close to the ruling Taliban announced that an intelligence force of the movement attacked the office of Hekmatyar's party in the heart of Kabul.

This caused the party to suspend all its activities, including the weekly Friday prayer.

The force also closed down the main gate of the party.

Who is he?

Hekmatyar is one of the leaders of the war in Afghanistan. He held the post of prime minister between 1993 and 1994, and then for a second time briefly in 1996 before the Taliban was able to seize power.

Hekmatyar showed great hostility to the Taliban. However, he was defeated by the movement, which forced him in June 1996 to sign a power-sharing agreement with both Burhanuddin Rabbani, the founder of the Afghan Islamic Society, and Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of the leaders of the Afghan resistance, whereby Hekmatyar became prime minister.

Nevertheless, the Taliban attacked Kabul and took control of it in September 1996, which led to Hekmatyar fleeing and taking refuge in Iran after repeated attempts to assassinate him.

In September 2016, the Afghan government pardoned Hekmatyar, as part of a peace agreement it concluded with his party.

The agreement stipulated the release of detainees from the party and Hekmatyar's return to political life.

Return of the Taliban

After the Taliban seized power again in mid-August 2021, Hekmatyar's name re-emerged. This time he supported the movement.

On August 31, 2021, he expressed in press statements his support for the future Taliban government without any conditions, confirming his belief in the failure of coalition governments.

"We are brothers with the Taliban and there is consensus between us," he said.

But Hekmatyar, who unconditionally supported the Taliban government, appeared again in October 2021, launching his party, which he considered a roadmap out of the political crisis in the country.

This map includes several items, including the start of negotiations with representatives of all Afghan political parties without preconditions, and that the negotiations should be between Afghans only.

He also invited representatives of countries that played a role in recent decades in the Afghan file as observers, pledging not to interfere in Afghan affairs.

The negotiations, he said, should be held in a neutral country that has not supported any political or military group in Afghanistan, and that the start date, duration and agenda of negotiations should be determined by agreement of all participants.

The Taliban commented on all this by almost rejecting the roadmap.

Afghan government spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said he would not comment on the roadmap declared by Hekmatyar's party.

"Any political leader can offer his advice to the Islamic emirate, and show his opinion and position on the Afghan issue," he said,

"What happens next is decided by the high command," he added.