Ex-Afghan Warlord Dismisses ‘American Conference’ in Bonn

Published November 25th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Sunday dismissed the inter-Afghan talks to be held this week in Bonn as "an American conference" rather than a UN-organized meeting. 

"It was not the United Nations but the Americans who decided who will take part or not," Hekmatyar told AFP in the Iranian capital ahead of what he called the "American conference" starting Tuesday. 

"I was not invited even though my party, Hizb-i-Islami (the party of Islam), is very powerful," said Hekmatyar, a member of Afghanistan's Pashtun ethnic majority. 

Hekmatyar, a leader of the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s and a former Prime Minister predicted that "a first conflict" would soon break out between US troops and their Northern Alliance allies. 

Former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Northern Alliance leader, returned to Kabul as the Taliban retreated "because the Russians asked him to, but the Americans did not want it," the exiled Afghan leader said. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan "under US pressure" has refused to grant him a visa for a return to Afghanistan, said Hekmatyar, who called for national unity including the Taliban and elections to restore peace in his country. 

He was backed by Pakistan and the CIA during the anti-Soviet war, but helped to destroy much of Kabul as he tried to force his way back into Rabbani's post-communist government after being ousted in 1992 – Tehran (AFP)

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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