Indo-Asian News Service
Kabul, 5 October
Qutbudin Helal, a senior leader of the Hekmatyar-led anti-government Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, has switched sides and today registered his name to contest in the Afghan presidential polls set for April next year.
"I am an independent candidate for the presidential elections, and my objective is to serve the nation if elected," Helal told journalists after registering his name with the Election Commission, reports Xinhua.
A close aide to Gulbudin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hizb-e-Islami party of Afghanistan, Helal served as acting prime minister when the mujahideen ruled Kabul in the 1990s.
Like the Taliban outfit, the Hekmatyar-led Hizb-e-Islami has been fighting the US-led military coalition forces in Afghanistan over the past decade.
The registration of presidential candidates is set for 16 September to 5 October.
Thus far, six aspirants have registered with the election body to contest the third presidential race in post-Taliban Afghanistan, slated for April 2014.