Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has denied having any links with the Pakistan Taliban. He has also condemned the banned militant outfit's strategy of blowing up schools and blocking girls' education.
Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister and current leader Afghanistan's second largest militant group, the Hezb-i-Islami condemned the Pakistani Taliban's blocking of girls' schooling, which was thrown into the spotlight in October by its attempted murder of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.
He indicated that Hezb-i-Islami has softened some of its hardline Islamist policies such as banning women from education.
During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he insisted that Hezb-i-Islami "consider education is as necessary for girls as it is for boys", though they object to combined male and female classes.
He also vowed to kill as many Western soldiers as possible before North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) combat forces withdraw from the country in 2014, the Express Tribune reports.
Hekmatyar warned that Afghanistan could collapse into bloody civil unrest after NATO troops withdraw, 13 years after the US-led invasion.
N ATO is aiming to train 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014 to take over responsibility for security.