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Pakistan wants to use Hekmatyar to counter India: Ex-envoy

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Former Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Rustum Shah Mohmand, said that Islamabad wants to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan through Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

In an interview with the VOA, the ex-envoy said that it would be difficult for Pakistan to see its hopes turned into reality.

Mohmand said the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), led by Hekmatyar, has no military power but only political. “Pakistan thinks that if Hekmatyar went to Kabul, influence against India will increase there,” he said, adding that it is just an expectation which would hardly become a reality.

He told VOA that the stance adopted by the HIA for the past fifteen years has changed.  “Hezb-e-Islami repeatedly said that it would continue its struggle till the foreign troops leave Afghanistan. American troops are still in Afghanistan but Hekmatyar is going to Kabul. American soldiers are still conducting operations. Therefore, ideological stance of Hekmatyar has weakened,” he opined.

The former Pakistani diplomat, who is considered pro-military establishment and sympathizer of the Afghan militants, said the peace deal between the HIA and the government would benefit the Afghan government. “Through this [peace deal] the Afghan government will give message to the opposition [militants] that the Hezb-e-Islami has accepted the constitution and current system, therefore, you shall also accept it and come forward for peace [talks],” he said.

He said that the peace deal would not affect Afghanistan’s security situation as most of the HIA members are already in the country for the past several years. Mohmand said the insurgency in the country would continue because the Taliban have not changed their stance and reiterated to fight till withdrawal of foreign troops.

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