Afghanistan-signs-peace-deal-with-militant-Islamist-group. KABUL, Afghanistan, The Afghan government and the militant Islamist group Hizb-i-Islami, led by a notorious former warlord, signed a preliminary peace agreement on Thursday.
Hezb-i-Islami is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former CIA asset who served as prime minister of Afghanistan under Taliban rule and was allied with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said the agreement was “a step in bringing the conflict in Afghanistan to a peaceful end.”
“The United States continues to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that results in armed groups ceasing violence, breaking ties with international terrorist groups, and accepting the Constitution, including protections for women and minorities,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
Hekmatyar’s amnesty through the peace deal is being described by human rights groups as a blow to efforts to seek accountability for those accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
“Hekmatyar is not alone in enjoying impunity. None of the Afghan warlords from the 1990s has been held accountable,” Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch, wrote in a commentary, the Los Angeles Times reports. “That, and the failed disarmament of abusive militias, have crippled reforms needed to build effective government institutions crucial for a lasting peace.”