News / Asia

UN Envoy Meets with Afghan Insurgent Faction in Kabul

The United Nations envoy to Afghanistan has met in Kabul with representatives of one of the country's main militant factions.

A U.N. statement said Staffan de Mistura listened to the points of the Hezb-i-Islami delegation and indicated their discussions with Afghan authorities "further underscored the importance of Afghan-led dialogue" to bring stability to the country.

This is the first confirmed meeting between the U.N. envoy and the group led by veteran Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The militant faction, one of the largest in Afghanistan besides the Taliban, has been fighting Afghan and foreign troops in the east and north of the country.

Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights organization is urging the Afghan government to repeal a controversial amnesty law that shields alleged war criminals from prosecution.   

Human rights groups in Afghanistan and abroad have expressed alarm at the law, which gives immunity for acts committed before the Taliban-led government was toppled in late 2001.

The top U.N. human rights officer in Afghanistan says the law allows Afghan authorities to ignore their obligation to investigate gross human rights abuses.

Rights workers say a "coalition of powerful warlords" and their supporters moved the measure through parliament in 2007. It became law in 2008, but some groups say it could also apply to the Taliban or other groups now committing crimes against humanity.

Separately, Britain's Prince Charles has made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan where he met with British troops stationed in the region.

His stops included Helmand province, where his son, Prince Harry, was briefly deployed in 2007.  

British officials did not announced the two-day visit until Prince Charles had already left Afghanistan on Thursday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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