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Rebel Official Says Hekmatyar Won't Attend Afghan Loya Jirga

A 2001 photo of onetime Afghan President Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
KABUL -- A Hizb-e Islami official says neither the militant group's leader, former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, or any other member of the insurgent group will attend the Afghan government's "loya jirga," or grand council, in Kabul on November 21.

Ghairat Bahir, Hizb-e Islami's (Party of Islam) deputy leader and son-in-law of Hekmatyar, said in a message to RFE/RL on November 12 that "we are against the convening of such a loya jirga."

He added that the insurgent group will not participate because delegates will discuss the "security agreement between the United States and Afghan government."

President Hamid Karzai's government has called the meeting to consider allowing a U.S.-led military force to remain in Afghanistan after the military drawdown by international forces in 2014.

Loya jirga organizer Sadiq Mudabbir said on November 11 he hoped Hekmatyar would attend the meeting.

With reporting by "The Wall Street Journal"