Karzai in Peace Talks with Taliban Rival

Is Hezb-e Islami Rapprochement a Key to Peace, or a Recipe for Division?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent today in face to face talks with the insurgent wing of the Hezb-e Islami organization, and the group is said to have presented a 15 point peace plan, which Karzai is studying.

Among those demands are the formation of an “interim” government and a specific timeline for the withdrawal of all the international forces from the nation. The group has spent decades as an insurgent group, though a portion of the group is also active as a significant opposition party in the Afghan parliament.

But despite providing good publicity for President Karzai’s peace plan, it is unclear how much affect a rapprochement with the Hezb-e Islami would actually have, and for that matter how much of the insurgency the group is even responsible for.

Making matters even more complicated, the Hezb-e Islami has never been on good terms with the Taliban, and the two groups have engaged in public clashes in recent weeks, largely over the question of the peace talks. Far from stabilizing Afghanistan, a Karzai alliance with Hezb-e Islami could make a prospective deal with the Taliban all the harder to reach.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.