The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan welcomed the conclusion of peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Hez-e-Islami led Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, saying UNAMA is encouraged by steps towards peace in Afghanistan.

A statement by the UN mission in Afghanistan said “UNAMA supports the efforts by Afghanistan’s National Unity Government to engage all those interested in establishing an equitable peace and renouncing violence for good.”

The statement further added “The agreement with Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin demonstrates the preparedness of Afghanistan’s government to seek peace with armed anti-government elements, and UNAMA looks forward to its full implementation and to other armed actors joining a peace process.”

“A credible peace process must remain owned and driven by Afghans, who will build a future together,” the statement said, adding that “The UN welcomes agreements that will contribute to a reduction of violence in Afghanistan and allow Afghans to live in peace with each other.”

UNAMA also added “After decades of war in Afghanistan, the UN sees all steps towards reconciliation, inclusive peace and a lasting end to the conflict as positive, but remains mindful of the issues around transitional justice and the importance of upholding human rights.”

The peace agreement between Hezb-e-Islami and the Afghan government was signed in September last year, months after negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Hezb-e-Islami delegation.

Hekmatyar arrived in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan last week and appeared in a gathering for the first time in nearly 20 years.