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Kabul Moves Closer To Peace Deal With Militant Group

Officials from the Afghan High Peace Council have signed a draft peace agreement with the Hezb-e Islami militant group.

"We are optimistic about this agreement and we strongly support it," Mohammad Khan, deputy to government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said on May 18 before the draft deal was signed.

"Both parties have reached an agreement on most points of the peace plan," a member of Hezb-e Islami’s negotiating team said. "I am hopeful they will reach a consensus on the remaining points very soon."

According to the draft agreement, Hezb-e Islami members would be offered an amnesty.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the militant group, is among the most radical of the hard-line militants in Afghanistan.

The group has carried out deadly attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa