The European Union is going to support the US-backed Afghan peace deal with the Islamist political and militant group, Hezb-e-Islami. The bloc is readying to provide millions of euros to support the agreement between the Afghan government and the insurgent group, hoping that the move will encourage similar accords with other militants in the conflict-ridden country. Initially, Brussels has committed to providing 2-5 million euros but it is not yet clear what the funding will be used for.
Hezb-e-Islami is led by the notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was removed from the United Nations sanctions blacklist earlier this year in February following Kabul’s plea. The UN Security Council paved the way for international donors to help implement the peace agreement between both sides from September last year. The deal included a provision to provide compensation to the members of Hezb-e-Islami. It also called for joint commissions to implement other provisions, which other international donors could pay for.
The United States believe that the peace deal has the potential to build trust and confidence in broader peace talks and encourage militants to join, although Washington still labels Mr. Hekmatyar “global terrorist” and Hezb-e-Islami a “foreign terrorist organization”. The agreement also faces obstacles regarding the potential reintegration of militants into the mainstream society as well as international sanctions. Kabul hopes that Washington will also support the deal financially. However, previous attempts at peace deals did not have much success. The United Nations Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program cost more than $200 million during a 6-year project to pay fighters only to be eventually suspended in 2015.