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UN lifts sanctions on Afghan Jihadi leader Hekmatyar

The United Nations Security Council has removed sanctions against Afghan Jihadi leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, potentially paving the way for his return openly to Afghanistan.

The Afghan government requested the move as part of a peace deal with Hekmatyar and his militant group, Hezb-i-Islami, in September.

While playing only a small role in the current insurgent conflict in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar was a major figure during the bloody civil war of the 1990s.

In removing Hekmatyar from the list of people sanctioned for their ties to al-Qaeda, Daesh, and other militant groups, the UN unfroze his assets, and dropped a travel ban and arms embargo against him.

Hekmatyar’s whereabouts have been unknown since he signed the peace deal with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in September via a prerecorded video from an undisclosed location.

With the UN sanctions now removed, government officials expect Hekmatyar to eventually return to the Afghan capital, despite the continued controversy.