Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is not just any old Afghan warlord. During the Afghan civil war his men shelled the capital city of Kabul indiscriminately, killing tens of thousands of civilians. Today he fights alongside the Taliban,but the Karzai government, with some encouragement from the American administration, is sending out peace feelers. Last year the London Times reported that a representative of Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's regional envoy, had met with Hekmatyar's representative, Daoud Abedi, who is an Afghan-American businessman to discuss a peace deal.
Now, that same Hekmayar's representative has sent an email threatening legal action to Winchester, Massachusetts-based couple Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, the husband-and-wife authors of a well-regarded book, Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story.
Mr. Abedi's boss, Hekmatyar,
is listed as a "Global Terrorist" by the U.S. State Department, and is reported
to have a $25 million price on his head. He survived a U.S. Predator drone
strike in 2003. His militias stand accused of some of the worst of the
widespread murders, kidnappings, and rapes that took place during the chaos of
the civil war. Among his methods were throwing acid in women's faces for not
covering up properly and skinning prisoners alive. But that didn't stop him from
issuing a threat of legal action againstjournalists for expressing
well-documented views about Hekmatyar.
The authors contended in a blog posted last January 25 th, In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method At All,that Hekmatyar should not be allowed into the Afghan government as a reward for laying down arms. Turning warlords like Hekmatyar to the good has consistently proven to be nothing but bad for the Afghan people.
AbediemailedGould and Fitzgerald, warningthat if Hekmatyar's party, the Hesb-i-Islami ever comes to power, "I promise you, [we] will call on all these so called experts, and knowledgeable sources to come up and clean what they have written, prove it or apologize to the Afghan and international communities for misleading them, or we will not allow their feet in Afghan soil."
Paul Fitzgeraldquestions the logic of this administration. "How is it possible that the Obama administration can allow the representative of a world-class terroristto threaten an American journalist in America with impunity? This illustrates the contempt this warlord has for America'sdemocratic process. He's trying to do here what he has always done in Afghanistan: intimidate anyone he sees as interfering with his rise to power. This is exactly why he shouldn't be allowed in the Afghangovernment as part of a deal for peace.Part of a peace processmeans talking to your enemies, butGulbuddin Hekmatyaris not interested in peace. He is only interested in taking control of Afghanistan and punishing his enemies. The mention of his name still sends shivers down the spines of many Westerners andAfghans alike."
Gould and Fitzgerald have covered Afghanistan extensively for overthirty years, and were the first American journalistsallowed into the country after the Soviet invasion of 1979.
Victor Gulotta Gulotta Communicatons, Inc.341 Lexington Street
Tel.: 617-630-9286 Fax: 617-630-1695
Background Sources, History, and
--4/5/10 Gould and Fitzgerald's Huffingtonpost blog describing theexperience with Hekmatyar's representative: "Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, theMessiah of Darkness"
--Gould and Fitzgerald book, "Invisible History, Afghanistan's UntoldStory,"
book website: http://www.invisiblehistory.com/
publisher's website: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100741260
--UK Telegraph, "US 'holds direct talks' with Afghanistan insurgents"(Holbrooke deputy meeting with Daud Abedi)
--History Commons Profile: Daud Abedi