Afghans fighting in Syria worry Hezb-e-Islami chief
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2017-07-26 16:21:14

Afghans fighting in Syria worry Hezb-e-Islami chief

Veteran Afghan Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar  voiced concerns over thousands of his countrymen allegedly sent to Syria by Iran.

Talking to leaders of various communities from across the country at his Kabul residence, Hekmatyar blamed neighbouring countries for fueling violence in Afghanistan and using Afghans to fulfil their objectives in Iraq and Syria.

“The blood of the Afghan people is considered even less than the value of oil,” he told the audience which also included representatives of ethnic Hazara from southeastern Ghazni and central Daikundi provinces.

Many Hazara, a predominantly Shia community, are believed to be fighting for the Fatemiyoun Brigade — allegedly Tehran-backed — and organised to fight in many areas of Syria, including Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Deir ez-Zour, Hama and Latakia.

It is also active in areas near the Syrian border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited thousands of undocumented Afghans living there to fight in Syria since at least November 2013.

Hekmatyar said at least 30,000 Afghans have been deployed to Syria and Iraq to fight in the ongoing conflicts.

Following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami party was in the forefront against US and NATO forces in the war-torn country.

He signed a peace deal with the Kabul government in September last year and has since been playing an active role in politics, with the stated aim of bringing peace to the country.

Talking to Anadolu Agency, Habi Habib-ur-Rahman, Hekmatyar’s son, said the exploitation of Afghans in the Syrian crisis, and the possible return of those involved in the violence, were concerning.

“The international community that has inked strategic deals with Afghanistan should play their due role in safeguarding the country’s interests, and stop neighbouring countries from interfering,” he said.

Rahman said the Afghan people need to resist this and compel their own government and the international community to stop it.

Iran hosts an estimated three million Afghans, many of whom have fled persecution and repeated bouts of armed conflict in Afghanistan. Only 950,000 have formal legal status in Iran as refugees.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai also expressed reservations over the issue.

To a question about the possible return of Afghan militants from Syria, Karzai said Kabul was concerned about those individuals.

“We are reaching out and talking to our neighbours and preparing our security forces; this is something with which not just us but all regional countries should be concerned,” he said.

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Tags:   Afghanistan ، Syria ، Kabul ، Iraq ، Hazra ، Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ،
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