Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

Hekmatyar’s Return to Kabul: Background reading by AAN

AAN 2 min

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the notorious leader of Hezb-e Islami, returned to Kabul today. After several years of on-and-off talks, between the Afghan government and envoys of the party’s leader-in-hiding, a deal allowing his return was finally signed in September 2016. Several months of negotiations on the finer details of the deal’s implementation followed. An overview of AAN’s past reporting on the winding road that led to the deal provides indispensable background to the questions that still surround Hekmatyar’s return to public life.

Hekmatyar's convoy arrives at the outskirts of Kabul, after which he is scheduled to be welcomed by president Ghani. Photo credit: Tolo News

For AAN’s most recent analysis on Hekmatyar’s return read this dispatch (3 May 2017):

 For analysis on the practical impact of the recent deal – on the UN’s sanctions list and on the situation in Shamshatu refugee camp, long the de facto HQ of Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami – see these two dispatches (11 February 2017 and 14 April 2017):

To see how the agreement with Hezb-e Islami features within the larger context of the issues facing Afghanistan this year, see here (27 January 2017):

For background on why Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami is controversial, and how the past still reverberates today, read this dispatch (14 December 2016):

For AAN’s analysis on the importance and impact of the deal, as it was being negotiated and signed, see these two dispatches (21 May 2016 and 29 September 2016):

AAN’s paper on the influence of radical Islamic groups – other than the Taleban – among Afghanistan’s youth, includes an in-depth look the role of the Hezb-e Islami youth, including at Afghanistan’s universities (23 June 2015):

The following dispatches trace the emergence and development of the negotiations with Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami, both under president Karzai and president Ghani (most recent first):

19 February 2014:

6 May 2013:

7 June 2012:

26 April 2012:

 6 November 2010:

22 March 2010:

Finally, see this dispatch for more background on Afghanistan’s ‘Amnesty Law’ that allows the search for peace to take place through blanket amnesty (22 February 2010):


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Hezb-e Islami peace agreement