The ‘good war’ in Afghanistan is proving as bad as the ‘bad war’ in Iraq for America. Political commentators and public intellectual across warned the US government against its adventurism in Afghanistan. They were ridiculed in the dominant media at the height for American vandalism in Afghanistan. But time proved them right. It’s ironic that once on the payroll of the US government, the former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar too cautions America against any increase in troops in Afghanistan. He has warned the Trump administration that any such move will not achieve peace for the country.

The irony is that Hekmatyar, who once was a staunch advocate of force and violence against political opponents, has changed but American ignorance has not. The man is now backing elections in Afghanistan. The United States still thinks that only force can bring order in the tumultuous Afghanistan. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), between January and May, 2,531 Afghan soldiers were killed and another 4,238 were wounded in action.

The government in Kabul wants to reach a power sharing formula with different warring parties to secure peace for the country. However, Washington does not want Kabul to hold any sort of peace negotiations with Taliban or any other group for that matter. The politics of inclusion does not suit American interest in the region, and they and the Afghan people will suffer for it.

Although Hekmatyar, considering his past, can be condemned forcefully, yet his argument needs to be taken seriously even if partially. He has expressed his faith in democracy as the only way of ensuring stability in Afghanistan, but his insistence on a strong President in Kabul will not help to bring peace to Afghanistan. What the Afghan President is doing is the best way to ensure stability in the country i.e. by allowing those who once brutally crushed any political dissent or opposition to now play by the rules. Though it sounds like rewarding a villain, however those who are aware of the composition of Afghan society’s composition know that these warlords enjoy the backing of the ethnicities they represent.

Hekmatyar is not the first of warlords who have been brought into the mainstream nor will he be the last one. Before him, another notorious figure, Abdul Rashid Dostum, was included in the political process and is the first Vice President of the country. It seems that Ashraf Ghani’s steps are reconciliatory and pragmatic ones. Hekmatyar will ask Kabul for sharing power with him, but even such a demand will be worth giving a chance. Though different human rights groups and people have objected to the inclusion of warlords like Hekmatyar and Dostum but given the nature of Afghan society, Ghani has no choice but to include them considering their popular support. Afghanistan belong to the Afghan people, not to warped American ideals.