The UN Security Council has lifted sanctions on the notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, previously branded “a global terrorist” and accused of war crimes.
The move follows a peace deal between Hekmatyar’s insurgent group Hezb-i-Islami and the Afghan government in September that granted him legal immunity from past offences, sparking outrage from rights groups.
Although Hekmatyar is accused of killing thousands in Kabul during the 1992-1996 civil war, many foreign governments, including the U.S., praised the landmark accord as a step towards peace in Afghanistan.
A statement on the UNSC’s website said an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo targeting Hekmatyar no longer applied.
It theoretically opens the way for Hekmatyar’s return to Kabul after two decades of exile in Iran and then in Pakistan.