Afghanistan peace deal step forward: Iran envoy

An Iranian diplomat says Tehran welcomes as a step forward the recent landmark agreement between the Afghan government and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of a militant group.

“Any Afghan government negotiation with the opposition groups that leads to a kind of political agreement is a positive step forward, and we hope this step will boost stability” in the country, Iranian Ambassador to Kabul Mohammad Reza Bahrami told ISNA on Friday.

“Backing stability and security as the main ground for development in Afghanistan is Iran’s fundamental policy, and Tehran welcomes any development which will help strengthen stability and restore security” to Afghanistan, he added.

The Afghan government inked a historic peace deal with Hekmatyar on Thursday following lengthy negotiations that could pave the way for him to make a comeback to political life.

“This agreement is signed after two years of negotiations between the High Peace Council (HPC), the leadership of the Afghan government and the Hizb-i-Islami,” Habiba Sorabi, the HPC deputy chief, said, referring to the group headed by Hekmatyar.

“The peace negotiations… have been successfully completed,” she added during the signing ceremony in Kabul.

The Iranian envoy also and expressed hope that other opposition groups would pursue the same strategy.

He said all friends of Afghanistan are duty-bound to help promote such policies in a more serious way in a bid to bring about a bright future for the Afghan people.

“The most important factor that can promote and sustain the peace talks is the political will of the Afghan leaders and opposition groups. This political will guarantees the peace process and helps other opposition groups and factions join the peace process,” Bahrami pointed out.

He said all countries seeking to help establish stability in Afghanistan should support such approaches, because it would help promote peace in the region and across the world too.

He emphasized that it would be impossible to counter terrorism without collective cooperation among regional and world countries.

Hekmatyar (seen below), a former anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s who waged a guerrilla war against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan, stands accused of leading a militancy that allegedly killed thousands of people, mostly civilians, in Kabul, during the 1992-1996 civil war.

In the wake of Taliban’s reign of terror in 2001, Hekmatyar was designated “global terrorist” by the US for his alleged links to the al-Qaeda and Taliban militant groups, and was hence forced to go into hiding.

If the peace accord is finalized with the country’s second-biggest militant group after Taliban, it would be a symbolic victory for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who seeks to revive peace talks with the much stronger Taliban, and who has so far failed to bring total peace to the country despite election promises to that effect.

By Press TV