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Hekmatyar Warns Against Efforts to Topple Afghan Government

FILE - Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks to supporters in Jalalabad province, Afghanistan, April 30, 2017. Hekmatyar cautions that a fall of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration would result in Kabul being overrun by the Taliban.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the warlord who entered a peace deal with President Ashraf Ghani’s administration, said he would not allow anyone to overthrow the government illegally because efforts to do so would result in Kabul being overrun by Taliban.

“Without an alternative, can we have a result other than the fall of Kabul to the armed insurgents,” he said.

The Hizb-e-Islami leader was responding to the warnings by Salahuddin Rabbani, the country’s foreign minister, that if the government did not replace the heads of all security institutions, his party, Jamiat-e-Islami, would move for a change in administration.

Rabbani made the demand after a tanker bomb in one of Kabul’s highly fortified area killed more than 150 people.

He also accused some in the security institutions of “colluding with terrorists” and trying to eliminate the top leadership of his party through what he said were “suspicious terrorist attacks.” He was referring to an attack on a funeral last Saturday that was attended by Jamiat’s leadership.

Hekmatyar also said his party would take part in the next parliamentary elections. Rather than sporting its own presidential candidate, the party would support a candidate acceptable to regional countries, as well as international community.

The notorious warlord returned to Kabul last month to a red-carpet treatment by President Ghani. His return was controversial, as many said they believed he should be tried for war crimes.

Feared as a ruthless warlord, Hekmatyar has been part of a lot of bloodshed in Afghanistan’s decades of war. In early 1990s, his forces attacked Kabul with a barrage of rockets, killing thousands of people.

Ghani hopes a deal with him would encourage other militants to come forward and sign their own agreements with the government. However, the Afghan Taliban have categorically rejected the Hekmatyar peace deal as “un-Islamic” and tantamount to a “surrender.”