Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former Afghan mujahideen leader and one-time Prime Minister of Afghanistan, has denied any links with the Pakistan Taliban, describing their attacks on school-going girls as “outrageous”.

“We are against the blowing up of schools and other institutions not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but elsewhere in the world. I don’t think that a devoted mujahid could be involved in such things,” he told The Daily Telegraph accusing foreign intelligence agencies of being involved in attacks on educational institutions.

Hekmatyar, known as one of the most “feared warlords”, claimed his Hezb-e-Islami party favoured women’s education, and was opposed to any discrimination between boys and girls.

“We consider that education is as necessary for girls as it is for boys. We don’t discriminate in this regard. The only thing that we are against is boys and girls being taught together. We think that is harmful from any perspective,” he said.

Hekmatyar said that western forces in Afghanistan were “tired of fighting” and were “left with no option except withdrawal”.

He was particularly scathing of Britain, describing its troops as “lackeys of the Americans”, and calling Prince Harry, currently serving as a helicopter pilot in Helmand province, a “jackal”.

“The British prince comes to Afghanistan to kill innocent Afghans while he is drunk. He wants to hunt down Mujahideen with his helicopter rockets without any shame. But he does not understand this simple fact that the hunting of Afghan lions and eagles is not that easy! Jackals cannot hunt lions,” he said.

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