“Probably the most fanatic Islamic fundamentalist group in the world is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the terrorist extremist who has been the CIA favorite and prime recipient of the $3.3 billion in official US aid given to the Afghan rebels,” Noam Chomsky wrote shortly after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Chomsky linked Hekmatyar to the bombing. “As publicly recognized, those charged and suspected are directly involved with the CIA-run operations in Afghanistan, financed by the US and Saudi Arabia, where they learned their trade,” he wrote. “In particular, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, widely reported to be the guru of the group, is considered by specialists to have been close to Hekmatyar, the CIA’s favorite terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist fanatic.”
But don’t take Chomsky’s word for it. “Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam, is a political and paramilitary organization in Afghanistan founded in 1976 by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been prominent in various Afghan conflicts since the late 1970s,” wrote the Office of the Director of National Intelligence a few years ago. “Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin is an offshoot of that original Hezb-e-Islami, and is a virulently anti-Western insurgent group whose goal is to replace the Western-backed Afghan Government with an Islamic state rooted in sharia in line with Hekmatyar’s vision of a Pashtun-dominated Afghanistan.”
On Monday, August 16, repeating a report from Al Jazeera, Reuters reported: “Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said he is heading to Doha on Tuesday to meet with the Taliban delegation, accompanied by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah.”
The Al Jazeera/Reuters blurb doesn’t give any further details of the pending meeting, but on Sunday the Associated Press, citing an anonymous Afghan official, reported: “After the insurgents entered Kabul, Taliban negotiators discussed a transfer of power…It remained unclear when that transfer would take place and who among the Taliban was negotiating.” The negotiators on the government side were identified as Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Notably absent from Team Government was President Ashraf Ghani, who got the hell out of Dodge just before the Taliban arrived, and is now in hiding, but fortunately still has access to Facebook, where he posted a message explaining that he had to split to avert bloodshed. Abdullah Abdullah, however, isn’t buying Ghani’s excuse, insisting that “God should hold him accountable” for not staying to greet the Taliban.
Gulbuddin, or Buddy for short, has special credentials as a negotiator, having fought for and against the Taliban. “This is a man who has switched sides his whole life,” notes Bruce Riedel, one of President Obama’s Afghanistan specialists.
If history is any guide, Buddy is planning on negotiating himself right into the new government.
Long story short. After the Soviet Union invaded his country in 1979, Buddy took up arms against the godless Bolsheviks. According to legend, as a young man he murdered a Maoist, so he already had some experience killing Commies. He quickly distinguished himself as the most ruthless anti-Soviet fighter, so the CIA richly rewarded the Islamic fundamentalist fanatic for his efforts.
Buddy was planning on ruling Afghanistan after the Soviet Union was driven out in 1989 and its flunky regime collapsed three years later. “Following the ouster of Soviet-backed Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, Hekmatyar declined to form part of the new government and, with other warlords, engaged in the Afghan civil war, leading to the death of around 50,000 civilians in Kabul alone,” says this account from Wikipedia. “Hekmatyar was accused of bearing the most responsibility for the rocket attacks on the city.” Unfortunately for Buddy, the Taliban emerged victorious so he went to war against them.
Buddy was also planning on ruling Afghanistan after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001, but the United States didn’t invite him to join Hamid Karzai and the new puppet regime, so Buddy commenced a holy war against it. He also hooked up with Al Qaeda for awhile.
By and by, the CIA turned against Buddy. “In May 2002, a CIA-operated aerial drone circling near Kabul shot a Hellfire anti-tank missile at a convoy on the ground,” recalls a 2010 piece in The New Republic. “The explosion killed several men, but failed to claim its target: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. By then, the Afghan warlord was on Washington’s most-wanted list as a leader of the post-2001 Afghan insurgency. But, eight years later, circumstances have changed once again. The United States is now considering whether it’s time to stop trying to kill Hekmatyar and start negotiating with him.”
Too late for that now. It’s Buddy, not the United States, who’s at the negotiating table.