Afghan terror group Hizb-e-Islami denies links with Islamic State

HIA chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

ISLAMABAD: Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) on Wednesday dismissed reports that it is considering joining the Islamic State (IS).

“News reports that Hizb-e-Islami could join IS are outrageous, baseless and completely false,” HIA spokesman Haroon Zarghoon said. He added that the group has no plans to join IS and did not have a policy of working outside Afghanistan.

The BBC had earlier run a report quoting an HIA commander, Mirwais, as saying that the group had some ties to IS members. The commander claimed the HIA leadership would announce its ‘allegiance to IS’ soon.

Zarghoon also denied any links with a pamphlet seeking support for IS. The pamphlet was distributed in the area around the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and Peshawar.

At the same time, the spokesman said HIA “recognises that IS has emerged as a result of the anti-Muslim policies of the US and its brutalities against Muslims in Iraq and other Islamic countries.”

Zarghoon’s statement echoed sentiments voiced by the HIA chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar earlier. In a recent article, Hekmatyar said IS was gaining momentum due to the US continuing its anti-Muslim policies.

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But IS is trying to drum up support, if pamphlets like this are circulating.