- Title: Profile of Afghan former warlord and presidential candidate Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
- Date: 19th September 2019
- Summary: Billboards were installed in parts of the capital Kabul before the arrival of Hekmatyar. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - MAY 3, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LARGE HEKMATYAR BILLBOARD
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2019 05:05
- Keywords: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Kabul warlord hiding taliban afghanistan supporters
- Location: KABUL, LAGHMAN, UNKNOWN, AFGHANISTAN / BHURBAN, PAKISTAN
- City: KABUL, LAGHMAN, UNKNOWN, AFGHANISTAN / BHURBAN, PAKISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003AXHPNIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was Afghanistan's former Prime Minister and a former warlord accused of war-crimes by human rights activists, and is standing for the presidential elections on September 28.
Once an ally of the CIA and a friend to Osama bin Laden, he was known as the "Butcher of Kabul" and "Rocketyar" in reference to hundreds of rockets he rained down indiscriminately during a civil war with other warlords in the 1990s that lead to the deaths of around 50,000 civilians in Kabul alone.
Hekmatyar later served briefly as Prime Minister of Afghanistan in 1993 and 1996 before fleeing to the Iranian capital of Tehran for refuge when Taliban forces took over Kabul.
In 2003, the U.S. state department labelled Hekmatyar a "global terrorist" and accused him of supporting militant acts by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. His group was also blamed for a 2013 attack in Kabul in which two U.S. soldiers, four U.S. civilian contractors and eight Afghans were killed.
In 2016 a peace deal was signed by the Afghan government that pardoned Hekmatyar for his past crimes and allowed him to return to Afghanistan after two decades in exile. Washington welcomed the move, but it was criticized by many locals for whom Hekmatyar remains a divisive figure whose fighters were responsible for thousands of deaths during the civil war of the 1990s.
In January 2019, Hekmatyar announced his candidacy for Afghanistan's presidential race in September, pledging to restore peace and security as he criticized the current government of its failures to end the war with the Taliban.
(Production: Hameed Farzad, Sayed Hassib)
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