Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Hekmatyar – A Notable Figure

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Hekmatyar – A Notable Figure

Afghanistan’s peace agreement with the emir of Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has led to controversial debates and triggered anti and pro-HIA feelings. Emotions of love and hatred fluctuate. His photos, posted on the cyberspace, are either kissed by his proponents or distorted with paints by his opponents in Kabul city. Many political pundits feel no doubt that Hekmatyar’s return is a project; however, there are several interpretations and views about this project and its result. The questions are: Who will be backed or harmed by this project? Who will lead this? Is he controllable? These are the main questions of the controversy.
During the jihad, Hekmatyar was under suspicion of having hands in gloves with the countries being backed by the Soviet Union. No leader was accused of war and violence, mainly of firing missile at Kabul as seriously as Hekmatyar. On the contrary, he accused his strong opponents, including Ahmad Shah Masoud, of making agreement with Russians. He also sought to dismantle Kabul through gaining influence in the government’s body or resort to coup in favor of HIA. The coup d’état carried out by Shah Nawz Tani against Najib government was strongly backed by HIA. This coup was suppressed with the officials and forces of Shura-e-Nizar led by the martyred Masoud. According to Masoud’s interview with Spiegel Magazine, 1500 members of HIA were killed.
Hekmatyar accused Masoud of making agreement with Russians and backing Kabul government. On the other hand, Masoud claimed that Hekmatyar intended to dismantle Dr. Najib’s government and gain power to support Pashtun tribe. Such understandings led to hostile competition between the two jihadi groups. That is to say, the ideology of jihad for deity, freedom and country was changed into tribal issue. Hekmatyar’s understanding of Masoud was on the basis of peace agreements made with Russians. Similarly, Masoud’s mistrust stemmed from Soliman Laiq’s trip to Paktia and his meetings with Hekmatyar – who condemned Masoud and his ilk for carrying out heavy attacks in Jalalabad and Logar and also his key role in Abdul Rashid Dostum’s group. It is said that these suspicion and mistrust changed the ideology of jihad and rule of sharia into ethnocentrism and affected the Kabul’s communist government and its army, which also showed tendency towards ethnicity and paved the ground for the fall of Kabul government. Some mujahedeen theorists believe that Hezb-e-Khalq and Parcham stoked the ethnic tension rather than mujahedeen. In short, these issues broke conflicts among jihadi groups and there are still ethnic-based and non-national political tendencies.
Pakistan is also believed to play a central role in this regard. Hekmatyar was an appropriate person for being replaced by Russians’ pawn and leading Afghanistan. For his radical view, however, the mujahedeen group residing Peshawar did not involve him in Mujahedeen’s interim government. Likewise, the mujahedeen residing Iran did not share a friendly relation either. Therefore, Hazarat Mujaddadi and then Burhanuddin Rabbani led the government. The Kabul government collapsed by jihadi groups and Hezb-e-Wahdat group also took the control of some parts in Kabul. The active presence of Ahmad Shah Masoud and Gen. Dustom’s forces – backed by Sayyaf men and Harakat-e-Inqilab, Mahaz-e-Melli and Jabh-e-Nijat parties –pushed HIA out of Kabul.  
The game of Jamiat-e-Islami and army forces constituting mainly from Tajik was fruitful up to then. But some errors were made following the withdrawal of HIA from Kabul. Jamiat made struggle to deny other parties, too, in Kabul, which ensued bloody wars, death and destructions in the same city and other provinces. The ethnic tensions went beyond organizational games to the extent of genocide and committing war crimes and went from soldiers to civilians. HIA formed a coalition with Hezb-e-Wahdat and Junbish – both sustained heavy attacks by Jamiat. This coalition could neither let him to Kabul nor supported by fundamental parties in Pakistan army.
After this disappointment, another group was involved in the game, which had radical, ideologue view and also Pashtun-oriented view. With the emergence of the Taliban group in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar abandoned the arena without violence and bloodshed and went behind screen up to now. Hekmatyar cherished an inflexible view with political and revolutionary Islamic ideology in accordance with interpretations of Syed Qutb and Hasan al-Bana and other intellectual leaders of Ekhwan-ul-Moslimeen. Nonetheless, he changed his view after Russians’ withdrawal and entered Kabul joining hand with generals belong to Khalqi and Parchami parties. In civil unrests, he adopted the posture of freedom-fighters and patriot and spoke about the equal rights of citizens alongside the martyred Mazari and Dostum. He introduced Mazari as almost unique and national leader but never approved legitimacy for the Taliban. 
Unlike his past, now he does not emphasize on the complete withdrawal of foreign troops and speaks about justice, the rights of citizenship of all Afghans, peaceful life and establishment of a strong government on the basis of people’s votes.
So, attributing war, violence and bloodshed only to Hekmatyar is not fair. He was not the only factor of civil unrests or one stoking tribal morale or splintering the nation. He was part of bitter and bloody incidents which were in progress within two decades. No one has the right to justify themselves through pointing figure at Hekmatyar. He was pushed from the power and others gained it.

Hekmatyar displayed a different personality in the history of this land. Still he has come to the political arena as a project. Denying him is as dangerous as loving him blindly. He is neither the mujahed of 1360s nor the leader of 70s but the player of new period and has to be pondered upon. The US also will be back since its flag, which was taken down in 2014, was poised again in Helmand. Daesh is also a new phenomenon. It should be noted that Hekmatyar has returned with new personality. All the return should not be escorted with swear or admiration but must be pondered deeply.

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