At least 70 Hizb-e-Islami prisoners are expected to be released on Friday – which will probably coincide with the return to Afghanistan of the group’s leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
All indications are that he will first appear in one of the eastern provinces of the country, Hizb-e-Islami spokesman Nadir Afghan told TOLOnews on Thursday.
Afghan said Hekmatyar is also expected to travel to Kabul but said his supporters will not be armed and that security for the leader will be provided by security forces.
“He [Hekmatyar] will appear in public in Laghman tomorrow [Friday] and then preparations will be finalized for his appearance in Kabul,” he said.
Hekmatyar’s son, Habiburrahman Hekmatyar, meanwhile wrote on his Facebook page that his father will make an appearance in Kabul on Saturday.
Not everyone is happy about his return however and numerous posters that were pasted up around the city ahead of his return have been ripped down.
Rahim, 80, a resident of Parwan province, was one of the unhappy ones and said his house in Charikar city was destroyed during the civil war, which Hizb-e-Islami was involved in.
“It is okay, Gulbuddin [Hekmatyar] should come, leave his weapons and call off his fighters who are with the Taliban in order to ensure stability in the country,” he said.
However, a number of Kabul residents said they hope that the return of Hekmatyar will provide grounds for lasting peace and stability in the country.
“Whoever he is he should come and there should be no war in the country. It is enough, our homeland has been destroyed enough,” said Ahmad, a resident of Kabul.
“At first, armed opposition groups should join the peace process and if they are not willing to join peace, we hope government eliminates them,” another resident of Kabul, Yasir, said.