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Afghan President Says Peace Deal With Militant Group Close


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said a peace deal with the Hezb-e Islami militant group is close to being finalized, boosting hopes of progress toward ending decades of war.

Negotiations with the militant group, led by notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have been going on since March when a draft deal was signed.

But a final agreement has been held up with some in the Afghan government suspicious of bringing one of the most radical militants in Afghanistan into the fold.

"Some issues are left and those are issues that would be very important for implementing peace," Ghani said on September 12, the start of the three-day Eid al-Adha holiday. "These issues should be solved within a limited period of time."

Rights activists have expressed concerns about long-standing accusations of human rights abuses against Hekmatyar, who was responsible for some of the worst atrocities committed during the civil war in the 1990s.

Hezb-e Islami has also carried out deadly attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Kabul hopes a deal with Hezb-e Islami can convince the Taliban to end its insurgency and join the political process.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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