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Peace at last.

Peace talks between the government of national unity and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb e Islami have made good progress.

Hekmatyar's decision to drop a key precondition -- the complete withdrawal of foreign troops -- helped the two sides make rapid progress in negotiations that started in March. The full details are yet to be made public.

Schoolteacher Aqela has a question for those in power. She wonders how come "Hekmatyar did not take this action years back?"

Noor Agha Ashrafi, a political analyst and well acquainted with the views of jihadist groups says, "The main cadres of Hezb e Islami included educated and literate individuals that had a vital role during the years of war by the mujahedin and civil war, and after the fall of Taleban with the government. Now it seems that this chain connects entirely with (the present) political flow." In his opinion, other insurgent groups could follow in the Hezb e Islami's footsteps.

Every peace agreement has a price. Has the government diluted democratic ideals to secure peace with Hekmatyar? Naweed from Kabul hopes the "presence of leaders of armed groups" in the government will not be at the cost of Afghanistan's Constitution and promise of transparency. All agreements must keep in mind national interest, he says.

The government has conceded to a long list of Hezb e Islami demands like the release of all its imprisoned fighters and removal of its and Hekmatyar's names from the US blacklist.

Ataul Rahman Saleem, a deputy in the High Peace Council, and Amin Karim who represented the Hezb e Islami, signed a 25-point peace deal between the two sides.

The Hezb e Islami has committed to end the fighting with the government and cut off relations with insurgent groups. Earlier, Amin Karim said an agreement with the Hezb e Islami would open the door to peace with the Taleban. Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid, the so-called spokesperson of the Taleban, has dismissed speculation that the Taleban may be encouraged to talk directly to the government in peace talks. He told the Associated Press that most important members of the Hezb e Islami were already playing a role in government, both the Karzai and present government.

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Publication:Killid Weekly
Date:May 23, 2016
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