Ex-warlord’s supporters rally in Kabul
KABUL - ReutersThousands of supporters of Afghan former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar rallied in Kabul’s main football stadium on May 5, making a stark demonstration of force in the city his fighters helped destroy during civil war two decades ago.
A day after his return to the capital after years in hiding, Hekmatyar renewed his call for peace with the Taliban and stepped up his criticism of the national unity government headed by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
“Let’s bring peace to the country first and tell the foreign forces that Afghans are able to sort out their issues themselves and we want them to leave Afghanistan,” he said. “No one has any justification for the presence of foreign troops.”
Days before the U.S. military is expected to ask Washington for thousands more troops to help train Afghan security forces and break a “stalemate” with the Taliban, the comments underline a potentially serious complication for Ghani’s fragile government. Hekmatyar is a veteran of decades of war in Afghanistan accused of multiple human rights abuses.