The Washington Post reports: President Ashraf Ghani is inching closer to a peace deal with the leader of a militant group that, though largely inactive now, was a powerful force during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s.
But a spokesman for the president said Sunday that Ghani has held off on finalizing the 25-point peace plan with warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami group because of “minor differences.”
Dawa Khan Menapal, the spokesman, said: “This is a process. There are some minor differences. It may take one day, maybe weeks or even longer.” The talks began in 2014.
Hekmatyar has been a thorn in the government’s side since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. But his group has been only marginally active in recent years. Its last major attack occurred in 2013, when a suicide bombing killed 15 people, including six U.S. soldiers.
Still, Ghani has been pursuing a peace plan with Hekmatyar, one that political analysts say would serve as a potential blueprint for a far more complicated deal with Taliban insurgents. [Continue reading…]