Afghan former warlord Hekmatyar rallies supporters in Kabul

Wary mood in Kabul as notorious former warlord set to return

Afghan warlord Hekmatyar returns to Kabul after peace deal

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan warlord, has returned to Kabul after being ousted more than 20 years ago as part of a peace agreement with the government.

The rally at a stadium and the protest outside Hekmatyar's government-funded residence in western Kabul on May 5 underscored deep divisions over the longtime militant leader, whose Hezb-e Islami group was responsible for some of deadliest violence in the civil war that engulfed Afghanistan in the 1990s. Hekmatyar was the "chief destroyer" of Kabul, Arabzada said, adding the warlord should apologize for the spilling the blood of innocent people.

His arrival also risks fuelling ethnic divisions and complicating Ghani's already hard relationship with partners including Abdullah, who is from Hekmatyar's civil war rivals, the old Northern Alliance. On Friday, Hekmatyar would deliver speech to a large gathering in Kabul, Sayed said.

Back in September previous year and following months of negotiations between Kabul and Hekmatyar, the two sides etched a landmark peace deal, which gave him and his followers' immunity for past actions and granted them full political rights.

The Hezb-e-Islami was blamed for much of the bad death and destruction of that period, which led many ordinary Afghans to welcome the emergence of the Taliban.

Hekmatyar arrived here after dozens of Hizb-e-Islami prisoners were released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul.

Referring to the war in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar said: "We hate those who insist on continuing the war in Afghanistan - the war which sacrifices only Afghans and the war that is being justified and financed from overseas".

Over recent days, posters of his face had been plastered all over the city, many immediately defaced by opponents.

Hezb-e-Islami has supporters across the country and there are hopes that the peace agreement may encourage some Taliban leaders to consider joining the process.

Speaking in the presence of US -led coalition forces, Hekmatyar said "Let's eliminate all excuses for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan". Many parts of the state remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.

The Prime Minister from 1992 to 1996, Hekmatyar's peace deal was welcomed by the U.S. and the UN.

A day after his return to the capital after years in hiding, Hekmatyar renewed his call for peace with the Taliban and stepped up his criticism of the national unity government headed by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Hekmatyar also offered to act as a mediator between the Taliban and the government.

Ghani's peace deal with Hekmatyar has been seen by some as a desperate move with a high probability of failure. "But, we welcome (Hekmatyar) to Kabul because we are exhausted of war and conflict".

Hekmatyar founded Hezb-e Islami in the mid-1970s.

There has also been opposition to the peace deal from human rights activists and Kabul residents who recall the ferocious rocketing of the capital by his militia and others that killed thousands of people and destroyed many homes.

A former prime minister, Hekmatyar was a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s and stands accused of killing thousands of people from 1992 to 1996.

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