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HIA nods to join peace process

AT-KABUL: The Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, had nodded to participate in the four-nation brokered Afghan peace talks, likely to be held in Pakistan, the group said in a media statement on Sunday.

The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China, had held its fourth meeting in Kabul on February 23, where the four countries called on the Taliban and other insurgent groups to join the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. Although the Taliban rejected to participate in the peace talks, but HIA showed its readiness to become part of reconciliation process.

“By joining the peace talks we want to show to the nation that we believe in peace,” HIA said in the statement, however, it added that the United States and its allies wanted to continue the war. “The US see its interests in war in Afghanistan,” it added

According to the statement the US is still keen on fighting and wants to see more bloodshed. Moreover, the statement added that some circles within the government see the peace initiative as a threat to their privileges that they are receiving from foreign states.

After the Taliban, the HIA is the second largest militant group in the country.

Following peace talks, President Ashraf Ghani also called on the HIA to join peace talks and showed government’s readiness to hold talks with all militant outfits including HIA. Despite the fact that the Taliban rejected to participate in peace talks brokered by four-nation talks, the government is still looking how to bring the group to the table of talks as some Afghan officials believe that Taliban’s peace talks rejection was a tactical step.

The group’s call to participate in the peace talks is taking place at a time when the United States of America added two members of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan, Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor, in the list of global terrorists. “We criticize the decision of the United States for adding two members of this group to the list of global terrorists,” HIA said in the statement.

“The State Department has designated Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor as Special Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under second 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons that have committed, or posed serious risks of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of the U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the US State Department said in a statement.

The statement added that as a result of “these designations”, all properties subjected to the US jurisdiction in which Abdullah Nowbahar and Abdul Saboor had any interest was blocked and the US nationals were prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Nowbahar and Saboor.

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