In this Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, photo, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a candidate in Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential election poses for a photo, in Kabul, Afghanistan. From American ally to US-declared terrorist, and now presidential candidate in Saturday’s polls, Hekmatyar’s past is inextricably linked to Afghanistan’s volatile history. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

AP Interview: From warlord to Afghan presidential candidate

September 25, 2019 - 3:29 am

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — From American ally to U.S.-declared terrorist, and now a presidential candidate in Saturday's polls, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's past is inextricably linked to Afghanistan's volatile history over four decades of war.

In an interview inside his sprawling compound in the Afghan capital this week, Hekmatyar, 71, warned of more violence if upcoming polls are not free and fair. He accused the front-runner and incumbent President Ashraf Ghani of abusing his power to win another term.

Hekmatyar warned of a crisis if voting is mired in allegations of fraud — as it was in the last elections five years ago.

"The situation will spiral out of everyone's control, and neither the government nor the foreign forces will be able to bring a halt to it," he told The Associated Press, without elaborating.

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