PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (search), one of America's most-wanted men, has urged his compatriots to rise up against the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday, Hekmatyar calls for an Afghan uprising in a competitive spirit with Iraq. He welcomed the uprising by supporters of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (search), who have been battling U.S. forces in Iraq.
Afghans "like Iraqi mujahedeen, will choose the way of uprising against the occupiers," said the Pashtu-language statement, translated by the AP.
Hekmatyar heads Hezb-e-Islami (search), an Islamic guerrilla faction that fought invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He has reportedly joined forces with the Taliban against the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
"Everyone believed that ... Afghans would be ahead of Iraqis in starting a popular uprising to evict the foreign occupiers," the statement said.
The statement was released to AP by a Hekmatyar aide who visited Peshawar in northern Pakistan, some 30 miles east of the Afghan border.
It was not clear when or where the statement was made, and its authenticity could not immediately be confirmed. It was signed "Hekmatyar, Afghanistan."
Hekmatyar has issued numerous calls to fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is believed hiding in Afghanistan since leaving Iran in 2002.