Aljazeera airs Hikmatyar video

Aljazeera has aired a video in which a former member of the Afghan government has accused Iran of backing the US in the Afghan conflict.

    Hikmatyar has been off the scene for many months

    Qalb al-Din Hikmatyar, the leader and founder of the Hizbi Islami political party, also said he was ready to fight alongside Sheikh Osama bin Laden and blamed the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on US interference.

    The dissident said the US had started the battles in the three countries by invading Muslim lands and imposing direct rule on them, or by imposing their agents.

    It is the first time Aljazeera has aired a video from Hikmatyar who has been politically dormant for the past few years.

    In his speech, Hikmatyar expressed his gratitude to those who fought to expel the Soviet forces which invaded Afghanistan in 1980.

    "We thank all Arab mujahidin, particularly Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and other leaders, who backed us in our holy fight against the Russians and offered great sacrifices."

    In a reference to Iran and Pakistan, Hikmatyar also said: "As you are aware, our malicious neighbours have assisted the Americans against us, while Moscow had also backed them.

    "Four years and six months have passed since crusader forces occupied our country Afghanistan. Our neighbours helped the Americans and Moscow stood by their side."


    Aljazeera interviewed Mohmamed Shariati, an adviser to Mohamed Khatami, the former Iranian president, for comment on the video.

    Shariati said: "In fact, Iran has dealt with the invasion of Afghanistan as a reality, while Pakistan has assisted [the US] on transporting US weapons through its territories.

    "I believe Hikmatyar was linked to Pakistan at the time and had, through jihad, sparked an internal war in Afghanistan.

    "In my view, the Khatami government dealt with the realities and even held talks with the Islamic conference organisation in Jiddah on this matter.

    "It was also obvious that Khatami and Bin Laden were on different lines.

    "One of them sees violence as a means to define Islam, while the other rejects violence, particularly with respect to the dialogue between civilisations, as pursued by Khatami.

    "Iran assisted Afghanistan against Russian colonialism and against the US domination and has assisted in road-building.

    Hikmatyar fought to remove the former Soviet Union from the country in the late 1980s. He was made prime minister before he had to leave Kabul when the Taliban swept into power in 1996. He is now allied to his former foes, theTaliban, and is wanted by the US.

    He is believed to be in hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    He was given refuge in Iran, but returned to his homeland as an insurgent after Tehran threw its weight behind Hamid Karzai, the present president of Afghanistan, following the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban.

    The US presently leads about 20,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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