Afghan ex-president's murder blow to Afghan peace efforts

Afghan ex-president's murder blow to Afghan peace efforts

Anti-government militants in their latest strike against peace efforts targeted the peace body chairman and former Afghan President Burhanudin Rabbani and eliminated him on Tuesday, the assassination gave a devastating blow to the efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and end 10 years of war, analysts said Wednesday.

Rabbani, an aged erstwhile Mujahdeen leader and the former president of Afghanistan, selected by President Karzai as chairman of the High Peace Council, a government-backed peace body, in October 2010 to broker peace talks with Taliban and other opposition armed groups, was killed in a suicide attack at his home in Wazir Akbar Khan area, a diplomatic enclave in the fortified capital city Kabul, Xinhua reported.

Since its formation in October last year, the 70-member High Peace Council has knocked several doors at home and abroad including Pakistan where Taliban militants are said to have sanctuaries to play role in bringing about peace and ensuring national reconciliation in the war-battered Afghanistan.

"The assassination of Rabbani gives the message that Taliban instead of adopting peace talks would follow targeting peace- loving figures, peace makers and government officials," a former Afghan diplomat and political analyst Ahmad Sayedi observed in a television panel discussion.

"President Karzai should realize that making peace with a fanatic group like Taliban that believes only in suicide attacks, explosions and bullet to grab power is impossible," Sayedi said.

Rabbani's assassination took place amid hectic efforts for ending the Afghan crisis through dialogue and convincing Taliban and associated insurgents to give up militancy and resume peaceful life.

Afghan delegations headed by late Rabbani had toured several countries including Pakistan and India since January this year to win international support in achieving viable peace through negotiation in Afghanistan.

The murder of Afghan peace body's chief has drawn wide condemnation at home and abroad. President Hamid Karzai canceled his visit to United Nations General Assembly in New York New upon hearing the news of Rabbani's murder and returned home.

Besides Afghan personalities, the world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have condemned the murder of Rabbani.

"Rabbani's killing by Taliban terrorists in fact has dealt big blow to the government peace efforts and has left no hope for peaceful settlement in general," a Kabul resident Farooq Shah said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit, has said a Taliban loyalist, Mohammad Masoom, blew himself up at Rabbani home killing him on the spot. Media reports said that Taliban had admitted they were responsible for the killing.

"Mr. Rabbani's murder is a great loss to the nation. He was a capable arm of President Karzai in bringing about peace and the vacuum created by his assassination in achieving peaceful settlement of the country cannot be filed easily," an Afghan political analyst Haroun Mir maintained.

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