HPC Optimistic Over Peace Talks With Hizb-e-Islami

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The High Peace Council (HPC) on Sunday said that after another round or two of talks, peace negotiations with Hizb-e-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, could yield results.

The HPC admits differences in viewpoints between the two sides and that everyone is looking to benefit, but said that the negotiations should eventually yield results.

“Both sides have a political will to reach an agreement. There are differences, differences in viewpoints. All sides are trying to receive more privileges,” said Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, the HPC’s advisor on international affairs.

Bringing about reforms in the election system, paving the ground for repatriation of refugees from Shamshato camp in Peshwar, Pakistan and the release of Hizb-e-Islami’s prisoners are the main conditions set by the party for peace.

The fourth round of talks between representatives of Hizb-e-Islami and the HPC is expected to be held within the next couple of days in Kabul.

Representatives of Hizb-e-Islami said that out of the 25-article proposal for peace they have reached an agreement on 18 articles and progress has been made over the remaining articles.

However, they are still to reach an agreement over electoral reforms, giving political parties the pivotal role in elections, the repatriation of refugees from Shamshato camp, the release of their prisoners and the removal of the party’s leaders from the blacklist.

Political analysts meanwhile stressed the need for a political solution to end the conflicts in Afghanistan.

“The same efforts were made towards the Taliban and steps have been taken to talk peace with Hekmatyar. We hope that this issue will be resolved and talks with Hekmatyar will yield a positive result and they will renounce war and join peace,” said Mohammad Natiqi, a political analyst.

Nader Baloch, a senator, said: “Joining of Hizb-e-Islami with government will have a positive impact. The party has key figures who are working inside or outside the government. I think this will show unity and solidarity among people and will pave the ground for other groups [to join peace].”

People of Afghanistan, after decades of war, are waiting for lasting peace in the country.

“They should come [and join peace], but they should not work for the interests of neighboring countries, for the interests of Pakistan and ISI or others,” said Mujib, a resident of Kabul city.

This optimism regarding peace talks with Hizb-e-Islami comes at a time that efforts by Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and United States to bring the Taliban to the negotiation tables has failed to yield results.

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