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Hezb-E-Islami Meets in Kabul to Discuss Presidential Candidate

Afghanistan Election

KABUL – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Islamist political party Hezb-e-Islami will nominate a candidate in the upcoming Afghan presidential election, either from its own ranks or it will support an outsider, it told TOLOnews Thursday. The party’s deputy chief Ghairat Bahir said that a delegation of four senior party figures are in Kabul meeting local members to discuss the election and possible presidential candidates.

“We have sent a delegation to Kabul. The delegation is led by Mohammad Rassoul. Its purpose is to visit and discuses with Hezb-e-Islami members in Kabul, not to talk with [Afghan] government officials,” he told TOLOnews via telephone from Pakistan. “The delegation has talked with the party members about the election and the party decided to introduce a candidate or support a competent candidate. We will soon make a final decision on this. I cannot name the candidate but our party’s nomination will be a prominent person in the country,” Bahir said.

Hezb-e-Islami is calling for the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan, saying that a proper election is not possible with them in the country. “We hope the foreigners leave Afghanistan. We stress as our first position: it will be impossible to hold a fair, transparent and free election in the presence of the foreign forces,” he said.

According to reports, the party has suspended negotiations with the Afghan government in protest over the Karzai regime’s plan to sign a long-term security agreement with the US. The comments signal a shift in Hezb-e-Islami’s demands. It had previously said it would not participate in the election if foreign forces did not withdraw from Afghanistan beforehand.

Afghan political analyst Ahmad Saeedi welcomed the news that the group is planning to take an active part in the election, but stressed that Taliban participation is more important.

“The main problem in Afghanistan is Taliban. Hezb-e-Islami’s war is not so important in Afghanistan. If they can come together as a party and participate in the election it will be effective to some extent, but it cannot bring Afghanistan peace and stability,” Saeedi told TOLOnews. Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial elections will be held on April 5, 2014. (Tolonews)

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