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UN removes Gulbadin Hekmatyar from designated terrorists list

UNITED NATIONS:The United Nations has removed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Hizb i Islami leader and a veteran of the decades of Afghan war, from its list of designated terrorists following his recent peace agreement with the Kabul government.

“Therefore, the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo … no longer apply to him,” the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee said in a statement issued in New York Friday.

The move comes months after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government sealed a peace deal with Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami or HIG, an insurgent faction.

The 25 point peace agreement gives Hekmatyar and his followers immunity for past actions and grants them full political rights.

The truce required Hekmatyar to cease fighting against the Afghan government in return for his removal from the UN blacklist, along with other leaders of his faction, and allowing his group to resume political activities in Afghanistan.

Friday’s announcement also said Hekmatyar, 67, was listed on February 20, 2003 and was “believed to be in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area as at January 2011.”

A former Prime Minister, Hekmatyar was a prominent among the Afghan Mujahideen in the fighting against Soviet troops in the 1980s.

Following the 2001 US led invasion of Afghanistan and fall of the Taliban, the US State Department designated him a terrorist, accusing him of taking part in and supporting attacks by al Qaeda and the Taliban.

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