Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Fear and doubt as notorious ‘butcher of Kabul’ returns with talk of peace

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The Guardian, 4 May 2017

AAN’s Kate Clark weighs in on the ceremonial return of Hezb-e Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Kabul, calling it a “rehabilitation of his political career.”

“Hekmatyar comes home on a red carpet. He is a failed figure, whose people are dwindling on the battlefield,” she said. “The fact that the government can do this without mentioning war crimes is quite extraordinary.” Clark called Hekmatyar a strong ideologue compared with other Afghan politicians. “A very hardline Islamist,” she said.

For Ghani, the peace deal is an accomplishment hailed by diplomats and foreign donors as a first step towards nationwide reconciliation. But the inclusion of Hekmatyar in the volatile political powder keg of Afghan politics is a gamble. “Hekmatyar has never been a team player and has never really worked for anyone else,” Clark said.