Hekmatyar urges Taliban to lay down arms,renounce violence

Islamabad: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-i-Islami, has made an appearance at a small gathering of members of the armed group in eastern Afghanistan today after 20 years of self exile, calling upon Taliban to lay down arms and join “ Peace Caravan”.
About 50 people gathered to meet Hekmatyar at a government-owned guesthouse, waiting for hours to meet him.
Hekmatyar, while addressing his supporters urged upon Taliban “ to give up fighting and join the caravan of peace for God sake… and set your goals and I will be with you on your good goals.”
As Hekmatyar arrived, supporters chanted slogans of “Long live Hezb-i-Islami” and “God is great”.
Large billboards have been erected by Hekmatyar supporters across the country welcoming him back and supporting his peace accord with the government.
The accord gave Hekmatyar amnesty for past offences and granted him future political rights.
Hekmatyar founded Hezb-i-Islami in the mid-1970s. He briefly accepted the position of prime minister in an administration following the collapse of a Soviet-backed government in 1992.

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