Veteran warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has returned to the Afghan capital, eight months after signing a peace take care of the federal government.
Mr Hekmatyar, an Islamist warlord accused of quite a few atrocities, leads Hezb-e-Islami, the nation’s second largest militant group.
Beneath the deal, he has agreed to just accept the structure and abandon violence.
Some see the deal as a step ahead for Afghanistan however others say it may exacerbate divisions within the authorities.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar travelled to the capital from Jalalabad amid tight safety, his convoy guarded by an Afghan military helicopter.
He is because of meet President Ashraf Ghani afterward Thursday after which lead prayers on Friday at a prestigious mosque.
A former prime minister, he is likely one of the most controversial figures in Afghanistan’s fashionable historical past.
Mr Hekmatyar’s return comes greater than 20 years after the Taliban compelled him from Kabul in 1996.
He was certainly one of seven anti-Soviet faction chiefs who led a lot of mujahideen fighters within the warfare in opposition to Soviet occupation within the 1980s.
However he’s remembered principally for his position within the bloody civil warfare of the 1990s, when the Hezb-e-Islami clashed violently with different mujahideen factions within the battle for management of Kabul.
The Hezb-e-Islami was blamed for a lot of the horrible dying and destruction of that interval, which led many odd Afghans to welcome the emergence of the Taliban.
The civil warfare additionally led to Mr Hekmatyar’s fall from grace – he and his males had been compelled to flee Kabul when the Taliban swept into energy.
One other participant vying for energy? – By Secunder Kermani, BBC Information, Kabul
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was as soon as often known as the “Butcher of Kabul” – and was nicknamed “Rocketyar”, in reference to the lots of of rockets he rained down on Kabul within the nation’s civil warfare within the 1990s. Many within the metropolis nonetheless have not forgiven him.
His critics say he has lengthy ceased to be a big army pressure, and that the Taliban are unlikely to hearken to his calls to participate in peace negotiations – particularly while they really feel they’ve the Afghan authorities on the again foot. His opponents additionally fear he’ll turn out to be yet one more political participant vying for energy within the nation.
However the peace deal is successful for the federal government, and has been welcomed by the US. The hope is Mr Hekmatyar may affect Taliban commanders who as soon as operated underneath his banner and present the group peaceable resolution to the battle is feasible.
In 2003, the US state division listed him as a terrorist, accusing him of participating in and supporting assaults by al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
However Hezb-e-Islami has not performed a lot of a task within the battle lately, and in September 2016 the Afghan authorities signed a deal granting Mr Hekmatyar immunity and the discharge of prisoners in return for peace.
Hezb-e-Islami has supporters throughout the nation and there are hopes that the peace settlement could encourage some Taliban leaders to contemplate becoming a member of the method.
However others are cautious. One paper has accused him of “talking in a bullying tone” and calling for a extra centralised authorities that will entrench the “dominance of 1 ethnic group”.
Mr Hekmatyar is Pashtun, as is Mr Ghani. However ethnic Tajiks, who again Chief Govt Abdullah Abdullah – Mr Ghani’s former presidential rival and now associate within the nationwide unity authorities, and the primarily Shia Hazaras – may see the warlord’s return as a worrying signal.
In Kabul, one man instructed Reuter’s information company that Mr Hekmatyar’s return was “a second of satisfaction for the nation” and he hoped it could convey peace.
However one other stated the transfer wouldn’t assist. “If the federal government actually needs to convey peace to Afghanistan, they need to make a peace take care of the Taliban and Daesh [so-called Islamic State], as a result of Hekmatyar would not have sufficient supporters and his fame amongst individuals is low.”