martedì 20 settembre 2011

Afghan Peace Council Chief Killed in Attack on His Home

KABUL, Afghanistan — An unidentified attacker on Tuesday killed the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a former president of the country whose main responsibility was negotiating a political end to the war with the Taliban. The assassination was a serious blow to any notion of reconciliation with the Taliban. Afghan officials said the peace council leader, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, was likely killed by a suicide bomber in or near his heavily guarded home in the Afghan capital, Kabul. The assassination coincided with President Hamid Karzai’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly, where he was scheduled to confer with President Obama about the war. A spokesman for Mr. Karzai said he would cut short his trip to return home. At least three other people were wounded in the attack, Afghan officials said. Ministers of the Afghan government raced to the scene and streets were closed off near Mr. Rabbani’s home. “This is not good for the peace process,” said a member of parliament on the defense committee, Shukria Barakzai, one of the few female members of the legislature, who was crying as she spoke in reaction to the news. Reuters quoted Hashmatullah Stanikzai, a police spokesman in Kabul, as saying the killer was probably a suicide attacker. Mr. Rabbani, who once led a powerful resistance group during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, was president in the 1990s following the Soviet withdrawal. He was killed a week after Taliban insurgents orchestrated a surprise attack on several Kabul neighborhoods that demonstrated the seeming ease with which they can strike despite ambitious efforts by the American-led NATO forces here to improve security and persuade Taliban insurgents to engage in negotiations to end the war. The Taliban attacks have called into question the basic readiness of President Karzai’s forces to assume security in the country as the foreign military forces gradually withdraw, as they have pledged to do by the end of 2014. nytimes To view full article: here

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