The Hizb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is not “happy and satisfied” with the release of its prisoners by the Afghan government, a process that is part of a peace deal signed between Hekmatyar and President Ashraf Ghani in 2016.
Based on the agreement, the government pledged to release almost 3,000 prisoners of Hizb-e-Islami, and, according to members of the party, at least 600 prisoners have been released, including 164 of them freed on Friday.
“Our prisoners were in Guantanamo as well as in Pul-e-Charkhi and Bagram prison (in Afghanistan). We can say that our top prisoners are still in prison,” said Atiqullah Safi, head of Hizb-e-Islami’s commission for the release of prisoners.
Among the 164 prisoners released on Friday, some of them claimed they were arrested on charges of being a Taliban member, not a member of Hizb-e-Islami.
But Safi rejected this claim by saying that there are no Taliban members in their list given to the government.
“All those on the list...are related to Hizb-e-Islami. We have taken guarantees from each of our prisoners and they have been introduced to us by their families and provincial members of Hizb-e-Islami,” Safi said.
Meanwhile, according to the National Security Council, the release of Taliban prisoners has been processed based on a list given to the government by the Taliban, a process that critics say has not had a proper vetting system of the inmates who are released. Critics have raised concerns that there are no guarantees that those released will not return to the battlefield.
“Despite the release of prisoners being a risk to our national security, the release will create an effective environment for peace,” said Shahnaz Ghawsi, an MP. “Our demand from the involved parties and the government is to stay committed to their promises and ensure that they are implemented so that further confidence is built.”
The government did not comment on new remarks by Hizb-e-Islami.