Hekmatyar willing for cease-fire if coalition forces stay within main bases

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 08:20 hrs

Hezb-e-Islami, Afghanisan's most important rebel group after the Taliban, has said that it would agree to a ceasefire if US-led coalition forces stayed in their main bases.

The rebel group has claimed that it had already held talks with the Americans.

The BBC quoted Habib-ur-Rahman, son of Hezb-e-Islami chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, as saying that his father was willing to give up fighting, and added that a ceasefire was also possible while US troops remained in Afghanistan, "If they remain in their bases, then we will not attack them."

"We have held talks with the Afghan government and the Americans. We have prepared a formula, and discussed it with the parliament and the foreign powers," he said.

"All Afghan groups agree that war is not the solution. But the Americans are sending 30,000 more troops in. They say 'we will suppress our opponents and then evolve a new strategy for Afghanistan," Rahman added.

However, he believes that the Americans would return to the negotiating table soon as they are fully aware of the fact that it is impossible for them to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Earlier this week, the Taliban had rejected talks if Western forces remain in the country. Hezb-e-Islami and the Taliban share common enemies, the central government and foreign forces, but there have been deadly clashes between the uneasy allies over control of local villages and taxes, the report said.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is regarded as one of the three main insurgent leaders, along with Mullah Omar (Quetta Shura Taliban) and Sirajuddin Haqqani (Haqqani network Taliban).

According to Rahman, Hezb-e-Islami had proposed a "very rational plan" for "a dignified withdrawal", adding that the group's proposals envisage the US led coalition forces pulling back into their main bases like Bagram in Kabul, and Kandahar.

A timetable would then be evolved with the Afghan government for free and fair elections within two years. All opposition (insurgent) groups would also participate in this, and a parliament would then be elected and the Americans can then leave the country, he added.(ANI)

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