OTTAWA (AFP) – Canada declared Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, a radical faction led by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and responsible for the deaths of two Canadian soldiers, a terrorist group.
“Listing Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), which has joined forces with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, is an important step in ensuring our safety and security in the global fight against terrorism,” Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said in a statement.
HIG espouses “a violent anti-Western ideology whose objective is the overthrow of the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the elimination of all-Western influence in Afghanistan and the creation of a fundamentalist state,” he said.
The group has killed, tortured, kidnapped, attacked political targets, as well as targeted civilians, journalists, foreigners, and foreign aid workers, he said.
Any person or group on Canada’s terrorist list may have its assets seized and forfeited here.
As well, supporters may face up to 10 years imprisonment for knowingly participate in, contributing to, or facilitating the activities of a listed entity.
Hekmatyar was a leading guerrilla commander against the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and had good ties with Pakistani and US intelligence services at the time.
He was briefly Afghanistan’s prime minister in the early 1990s.
But he has since been declared a wanted terrorist by the United States for his attempts to destabilise the US-backed government in Afghanistan and for taking part in an insurgency led by the fundamentalist Taliban regime.
Hekmatyar has issued repeated calls for a jihad, or holy war, against foreign troops in Afghanistan.