Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Daylife photo.
by UNA MOORE
During the first half of Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990’s, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s forces committed atrocities that elsewhere in the world are met with international arrest warrants and indictments for war crimes and crimes against humanity –not hints of future inclusion in government.
Hekmatyar’s fighters killed tens of thousands by deliberately shelling Kabul. They kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed countless civilians in ways so gruesome that many Afghans, especially Kabul residents, flinch at the mention of Hekmatyar’s name to this day. (An Afghan refugee once described to me Hezb-i-Islami fighters entertaining themselves by pouring hot oil on a freshly decapitated body to make it flail involuntarily.) When Hekmatyar was done with Afghanistan’s capital city, it looked like Hiroshima, and it will still be recovering decades from now.
Representatives from Hezb-i-Islami, the smallest of Afghanistan’s three major insurgent groups, met with the Afghan president and the United Nations Assistance Mission this week to discuss a list of 15 conditions demanded in exchange for the group laying down its arms.