Hekmatyar: Foreigners blamed for violence

June 11, 2010 at 12:23 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, June 11 (UPI) -- The presence of foreign fighters on Afghan soil is the reason for lingering conflict, said warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in an interview.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar leads the Hezb-i-Islami militant faction in Afghanistan. A Hezb-i-Islami delegation met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in March to present a 15-point peace plan that included deadlines for the departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

The peace plan calls on foreign forces to leave by July, though Hezb-i-Islami official said they were flexible provided Washington honors its commitments to Afghanistan.

In an e-mail interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Hekmatyar said he was interested in a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

"We wanted all Afghan sides to agree to stop fighting," he said in the interview.

He said most of the insurgent groups in Afghanistan, including al-Qaida, wouldn't fight in Afghanistan if foreign troops agreed to leave the country.

"The presence of foreign troops is the fundamental reason for the continued fighting," he said.

The former prime minister of Afghanistan added he wasn't interested in a future political role.

"Right now I just want the freedom of my country," he said.

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