By Sourabh Mishra

Afghanistan government has signed a peace agreement with the country’s second largest militant group- Hezb-e-Islami.The deal grants impunity to Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is an Islamist warlord, a former Afghan prime minister and one of the most controversial figures in the country’s modern history accused of numerous atrocities. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was not present at the signing, which is intended to pave the way for him to return from hiding to Kabul.

Mr. Hekmatyar is remembered mostly for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s, when the Hezb-e-Islami clashed violently with other mujahideen factions in the struggle for control of the capital, Kabul. In 2003, the US state department designated him as a terrorist, accusing him of taking part in and supporting attacks by al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Mohammad Amin Karim, head of the insurgent delegation, was present at the ceremony. According to the terms of the deal, Mr. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar agrees to accept the constitution and abandon violence. He must still sign the accord with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for it to come into force.

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