Hekmatyar signs peace agreement with Afghan Govt

Kabul [Afghanistan], Sept. 29 : Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been designated a "global terrorist" by the United States, has formally signed a peace agreement through a video teleconference played at ARG Palace today.

The agreement was then ratified by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani as he delivered a speech on the occasion of the conclusion of the historic agreement, reports the Khaama Press.

The ceremony was attended by several government officials and prominent political figures, including members of Hezb-e-Islami led by Hekmatyar.

The draft peace agreement concluded between Hezb-e-Islami delegation and the Afghanistan High Peace Council last Thursday and was signed by the two sides.

Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar signed the draft peace agreement in order to pave the way for the formal signing by President Ghani, the party's chief negotiator Karim Amin said.

The peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami concluded after almost six months negotiations which started earlier this year with the formation of a Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for the Afghan peace talks.

Hezb-e-Islami was the first anti-government armed militant group to join direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

QCG comprised of representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States which was formed to revive peace talks with the Taliban group.

However, the Taliban group rejected to participate in direct peace talks with the government. On Saturday, the Members of Parliament welcomed the peace deal with Hizb-e-Islami but called on both sides to adhere to their commitments, as prescribed in the accord.

The agreement sparked widespread reaction among Afghans with some supporting the deal, but others expressed their doubts over the agreement.

In response to the deal, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Thursday that it was encouraged by the signing of the peace agreement.

Alongside the UN, the European Union (EU), and the US embassy also welcomed the peace agreement, calling the move a sign of strong hope for suffering Afghans.

Source: ANI