In his first public speech today after coming out of long hiding, Hizb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar voiced support for peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan. “No bullet should be fired, no drop of blood should be shed for transition of power in Afghanistan,” Hekmatyar told a gathering of local civilian and military officials and ordinary people in eastern Laghman province.
Hekmatyar returned to public life after he signed a peace deal with the government in September last year that included removal of his name from U.N. blacklist and release of its prisoners. He is accused by rights groups of war crimes during 1990s civil war. Around 70 of its prisoners are due to be released from Pul-i-Charkhi prison in Kabul today Saturday. In his address to the Taliban ‘brothers’ whom he backed after their toppling in 2001, Hekmatyar invited them to join peace process.
“Your fighting is senseless and illegitimate… Only Afghans are victim of this war,” he said. He also said that the international community should allow Afghans to live peacefully through intra-Afghan dialogue. He asked neighbouring countries not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. “Don’t ignite fire in our home, don’t kill us and don’t interfere in our domestic affairs.’ Commenting on the media, he criticized broadcast of music and dance by some outlets, which Taliban, he said, might use as an excuse.