UN lifts sanctions against 'Butcher of Kabul' after peace-deal

UN lifts sanctions against 'Butcher of Kabul' after peace-deal
2 min read
04 February, 2017
The UN has lifted sanctions against notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a major figure in the 1990s civil war, allowing the strongman to potentially return to Afghanistan.
Hekmatyar is a reviled figure among many in Afghanistan [Anadolu]
Sanctions against a notorious Afghan warlord once dubbed the "Butcher of Kabul" have been lifted by the UN Security Council, potentially paving the way for him to return to Afghanistan.

Afghan strongman Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was a major figure during the bloody civil war of the 1990s, when he was accused of indiscriminately firing rockets into Kabul, as well as other human rights abuses, killing thousands of people.

The US declared him a "global terrorist" in 2003. The UN blacklisted him the same year. 

The Afghan government requested the move as part of a peace deal with Hekmatyar and his militant group, Hezb-i-Islami, in September.

The deal was criticised by some Afghans and human rights groups for the pardon it granted to Hekmatyar and many of his fighters.

Spokespeople for Hekmatyar and the Afghan government were not immediately available to comment, Reuters reported.

In removing Hekmatyar from the list of people sanctioned for their ties to al-Qaeda, IS, and other militant groups, the UN unfroze his assets, and dropped a travel ban and arms embargo against him.

Hekmatyar's whereabouts have been unknown since he signed the peace deal with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in September via a prerecorded video from an undisclosed location.

With the UN sanctions now removed, government officials expect Hekmatyar to eventually return to the Afghan capital, despite the continued controversy.

Many foreign governments, including the United States, praised the accord at the time as a step toward wider peace in Afghanistan, with former Secretary of State John Kerry saying it could be a model for reconciliation with the Taliban.