- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Anti-American warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was refused entry by Iraq and Pakistan before he left Iran for Afghanistan, where he is expected to resist the interim government, a report said.
Mr. Hekmatyar, who shelled Kabul in the 1990s during a power struggle after the Soviet army left Afghanistan, is now in the western province of Herat, according to the Afghan envoy in Washington, Haroun Amin. Agence France-Presse said he arrived there from his exile headquarters in Tehran on Saturday.
Mr. Amin told The Washington Times that Mr. Hekmatyar's supporters in Afghanistan were given weapons by the Taliban after he voiced support for the since-deposed militia during the U.S. bombing campaign in October.
"Hekmatyar crossed the border yesterday with his friends and arrived in Herat province. He will see if it's possible to stay," an independent Afghan source told Agence France-Presse.
Mr. Hekmatyar, under pressure from Iran to pull up stakes after making harsh anti-American statements, tried to enter Iraq with eight associates, Agence France-Presse reported.
He decided not to go to Iraq after that country insisted he could not bring anyone with him, the wire service said. The Iraqi charge d'affaires in Tehran, Abdulsattar al-Rawi, denied that report.
Pakistan also refused entry to Mr. Hekmatyar. So he chose to re-enter Afghanistan, where Afghan officials hope to put him on trial for crimes during the siege of Kabul in the early 1990s.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi would not confirm that the Afghan warlord had left for Afghanistan but said, "Our position is that Hekmatyar must leave Iran, and we don't mind where he goes."
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher yesterday refused to confirm the reports that Mr. Hekmatyar had returned to Afghanistan.
The United States has said Iran has been meddling in Afghanistan since the Taliban was driven from power in November.
Intelligence officials told The Times recently that Iran sent weapons, advisers and cash to support some tribal and Shi'ite religious leaders and to undermine the pro-American interim government in Kabul of Hamid Karzai.
Iran denied the accusations and has pointed out that it agreed to assist downed U.S. pilots in the campaign against the Taliban which Iran detested as much as the Americans did.
Iran also pledged a large sum to rebuild Afghanistan at an international conference in Tokyo and detained dozens of suspected al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan before deciding there were no terrorists among them.
Iran then ordered Mr. Hekmatyar to close his Tehran office, opened in 1996 after the Taliban seized power and ended his bloody feud with the Northern Alliance for control of Kabul.
Mr. Hekmatyar, 60, headed Hizb-i-Islami, a mujahideen group, which received a major portion of U.S.- and Saudi-supplied weapons and cash during the 1980-89 war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.


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