Hizb-e-Islami says its men need to be armed as their safety is not guaranteed but that they will not turn their weapons on government.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami members have so far refused to hand over their weapons, which has in turn sparked concern among MPs.
This comes after Hekmatyar and his men officially returned to Afghanistan early this month after the group’s leader sealed a peace deal with government last year.
Despite Hizb-e-Islami having assured the nation that their armed men will not turn their weapons on government, MPs on Wednesday raised the issue and voiced their concerns.
“First it is very dangerous to move our forces towards a factional force, because it politicizes our army and it further weakens our army,” said MP Nahid Farid.
“The government must be cautious about the release of the prisonors,” said MP Saleh Mohammad Registani.
Meanwhile, a Hizb-e-Islami spokesman Qariburrahman Saeed said on Wednesday that there is no solid guarantee for the safety of these fighters and that they need to be armed for their own safety. However he did not give details about the exact number of fighters under the group’s command.
“They (Hizb-e-Islami fighters) were told to keep their weapons, but avoid fighting against government, they need these weapons for their own safety, because no one can guarantee their security,” said Saeed.
Regarding the implementation of the peace accord, Saeed said that government was firmly committed to the peace agreement and that all Hizb-e-Islami prisoners will be released soon.
He said efforts have been accelerated to identify the capabilities of these fighters in order to incorporate them into security institutions.
In a question relating to the release of 13 high profile Hizb-e-Islami inmates, who are accused of having plotted suicide attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan, Saeed dismissed such allegations and said many cases against Hizb-e-Islami members had been fabricated.
“Not only will these thirteen individuals be released step by step but so will the majority of individuals (prisoners),” added Saeed.
This comes just a week after government ordered the release of the first batch of 50 Hizb-e-Islami prisoners in accordance with the peace agreement. There is an estimated 3,500 Hizb-e-Islami prisoners in jails across the country.