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Afghan Militant Faction Joins Peace Process

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Afghan Islamist organization Hezb-e Islami, in a screen grab from a 2007 video.

An Islamist militant group, Hezb-e Islami, has started peace talks with the Afghan government.

Representatives of the group, which is led by notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, appeared at a press conference in Kabul with members of the High Peace Council, which oversees the Afghan peace process.

The head of the Hezb-e Islami delegation, Karim Amin, expressed hope that other movements fighting government forces would be inspired by the "selflessness" of his group and join the peace process.

However, there was no mention of the group of several hundred fighters surrendering arms.

Loosely allied with the Afghan Taliban, Hezb-e Islami fighters are believed to be active in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban, the main militant group in the country, earlier this month rejected an invitation to join direct talks with the Afghan government.

With reporting by Reuters

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