Hekmatyar’s removal from UN blacklist, Russia’s fear

Wednesday, 04 January 2017 03:25 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 410 times

Russia is reportedly striving to block removal of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s name from the United Nations Sanctions List. Following its peace agreement with Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), the Afghan government officially requested the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in December to drop Hekmatyar’s name off from its blacklist, but Russia is said to attempting to veto the proposal. This comes as Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, has said Moscow had not blocked the delisting, but rather put it on hold as it required more time to make a decision.

 

Although Russia has not elaborated on its opposition to Hekmatyar’s removal from the blacklist, it appears to have adopted the stance due to its concerns about the future of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan. Russia is worried about any possible alliance between the once anti-Soviet commander and the Islamic State or Daesh after joining the Afghan reconciliation process. 

Russians who consider Daesh in Afghanistan as a conspiracy and a major threat against their country became more worried after reports that Hekmatyar will perhaps reside in Nangarhar following his public appearance in Afghanistan. Nangarhar was the first Afghan province, where Daesh emerged and still has a stronger presence than in any other area of the country.  

The timing of HIG’s peace accord with the government is also worrisome for Russians who may think that why the peace deal reached now at a time of rising influence of Daesh in Afghanistan particularly in a province also considered as Daesh’s hotbed and where Hekmatyar is supposed to dwell was not struck in the last decade and half.

Russia’s handling of and standpoint about Afghan issues, and the status quo suggest the ongoing game in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly more complex. If the Afghan government doesn’t prevent the potential clash between regional and global powers through an active diplomacy, the already embattled Afghanistan will face with enormous challenges and turbulent future.  Given the criticality of the situation, all Afghan sides and political factions besides the government have a reasonability to join hands irrespective of their individual or partisan interests and salvage the country from turning into a theater of proxy wars once again.