In this Wednesday, June 26, 1996 file photo, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, center, passes in front of an honor guard in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, after being sworn in as prime minister. (AP Photo, File)
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Afghanistan was set Thursday to sign a draft peace agreement with notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, paving the way for his political return despite a history of war crimes and after years in hiding.The deal with Afghanistan's second-biggest militant group marks a symbolic victory for President Ashraf Ghani, who has struggled to revive peace talks with the more powerful Taliban.The government said an "initial draft agreement" would be signed Thursday by Hekmatyar's delegation and Afghanistan's High Peace Council (HPC), responsible for reconciliation efforts with militants.Hekmatyar is designated a "global terrorist" by the US and is blacklisted by the U.N. The Afghan government will likely work towards lifting those restrictions in order to reintegrate him into local politics.
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