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Hekmatyar suggests certain regions be ceded for Taliban

AT-KABUL: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Afghanistan’s Hezb-e-Islami has confirmed that President Ghani has supported his suggestion about giving autonomy for the Taliban and cede certain regions to the insurgent group in a bid to help reach to a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban group.

In an interview with the New York Times, Hekmatyar has said that areas to be granted to Taliban autonomously and called these regions “secure areas” that would remain part of Afghanistan, even as Afghan Army troops withdrew from them. He has also branded Osama as an individual committed to Islam.

However, he said his party’s links with the network were broken after Osama shifted focus from Afghanistan to global Jihad.

“He was a man committed to Islam,” Hekmatyar told the paper, as he recalled a 1980s stance where he had saved the future terrorist leader’s life by breaking a Soviet Army encirclement of Arab fighters.

In regards to the Taliban group and the Afghan reconciliation efforts, Hekmatyar suggested autonomy for the group in a bid to help reach a peace deal between the government and the insurgent group.

Hekmatyar said his participation in Afghan politics showed the Taliban that they, too, could wield influence after laying down their weapons.

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami further added that he had already begun establishing himself as an intermediary and was in regular contact with the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

According to the Times, Hekmatyar is promoting a reconciliation with the Taliban that would grant local autonomy to the insurgent group in certain regions, or peace provinces. He called these regions “secure areas” that would remain part of Afghanistan, even as Afghan Army troops withdrew from them.

“It would be very effective,” he said, adding that in his discussions with the Afghan president, Mr. Ghani had been supportive.

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