But no one has yet figured out how to turn the engine off altogether. Hekmatyar in late 2004 called for jihad against the United States, and is now claiming victory — although his approach to Karzai may not indicate that he is ready to fight on no matter what. “Fugitive warlord reaches out to Afghan president,” from Associated Press, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
An Afghan warlord wanted by the U.S. distanced himself from the Taliban and gave his strongest indication yet that he was open to talks with embattled President Hamid Karzai.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s overtures are unlikely to blunt a Taliban offensive against NATO troops in southern Afghanistan. But security experts said they could herald a new phase in efforts to reconcile the country’s warring factions.
In a video response to questions submitted by the Associated Press, Hekmatyar indicated that his Hezb-i Islami group contacted Taliban leaders sometime in 2003 and agreed to wage a joint jihad, or holy war, against American troops.
“The jihad went into high gear, but later it gradually went down as certain elements among the Taliban rejected the idea of a joint struggle against the aggressor,” he said.
“It was not a good move by the Taliban to disassociate themselves from the joint struggle,” he added. “Presently we have no contact with the Taliban.”
Hekmatyar, who once served as Afghan prime minister, said his forces were mounting restricted operations, partly due to a lack of resources. But he said he had a large pool of fighters and sent a message to President Bush that the U.S. had no hope of defeating the insurgency.
“You must have realized that attacking Afghanistan and Iraq was a historic mistake,” Hekmatyar said, addressing Bush. “You do not have any other option but to take out your forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and give the Iraqis and Afghans the right to live their own way.”…