Kabul Reiterates Its Call To UN To Lift Sanctions Against Hekmatyar

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The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday reiterated its call to the UN to lift sanctions against Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

“Our expectation is that they (UN) officials respond positively to our recommendations,” said MoFA deputy spokesman Khairullah Azad.

Meanwhile, Jabbar Shalgarai, a senior member of the group has also advocated the world body to take steps to remove embargos against its leader.

“If these sanctions are not lifted, other opponent groups will also lose confidence in the peace process and this would indicate that the international community does not support peace in Afghanistan,” said Shalgarai.

The request by the government of Afghanistan follows a peace accord signed by President Ashraf Ghani and Hizb-e-Islami founder Gulbuddin Hekmatyar late September, an accord that drew widespread reaction from the Afghan public and political elite.

It is said that the ministry of foreign affairs in a letter to the UN security council requested the swift removal of sanctions against Hekmatyar.

But from a legal perspective, the process of scrutinizing the request could take three months.

“Lifting of sanctions is part of the peace accord between the Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami, therefore efforts are underway for the removal of these sanctions,” said Omid Maisam, deputy spokesman for CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

In September, the Ghani administration, as part of its peace initiative, clinched a deal with Gulbuddin – a move seen to put the peace process back on track.

But Hizb-e-Islami has also called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, something legal experts believe could create challenges when it comes to lifting sanctions.

Some countries have already expressed dismay over the deal with Hekmatyar – which could make it difficult for the UN to lift sanctions.

“The UN security council likely would have a number of reservations on the issue of lifting sanctions, certain countries such as Russia, Iran and India have concerns about peace with Hizb-e-Islami,” said political activist Ajmal Balochzada.

The UN member nations are allowed to submit a request for the removal of names of certain persons, but the governments need to clarify the main reasons for their decisions to the UN.

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