Senior Afghan peace negotiator shot dead in Kabul

KABUL Sun May 13, 2012 7:18pm EDT

1 of 2. Former Taliban minister Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, a senior member of the High Peace Council set up by President Hamid Karzai two years ago to liaise with insurgents, speaks during an interview in Kabul, in this file picture taken January 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail/

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KABUL (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead a top Afghan peace negotiator in the capital Kabul on Sunday, police said, dealing another blow to the country's attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.

Maulvi Arsala Rahmani was one of the most senior members on Afghanistan's High Peace Council, set up by President Hamid Karzai two years ago to liaise with insurgents.

"He (Rahmani) was stuck in heavy traffic when another car beside him opened fire," said General Mohammad Zahir, head of the investigations unit for Kabul police.

The Taliban denied involvement in the killing of Rahmani, a Taliban defector but with strong ties to the movement. "Others are involved in this," its spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Rahmani was on his way to a meeting with lawmakers and other officials in a government-run media centre in the heavily barricaded diplomatic centre of Kabul when he was shot dead.

"His driver did not immediately realize that Rahmani had been killed," police official Zahir told Reuters, adding that no one had been arrested in connection with the shooting.

The Taliban said his death would not alter peace talks. "We don't believe it's a big blow to peace efforts because the peace council has achieved nothing," Mujahid told Reuters.

The 70-member High Peace Council appears to have made little progress in negotiating with the Taliban to end the war now in its eleventh year.

Any progress was severely halted when its head, former Afghan president Barhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated by a suicide bomber last year. He has since been replaced by his son Salahuddin.

Rahmani told Reuters at the start of the year he was optimistic secret peace talks with the Taliban had a good chance of success and that the Taliban were ready to moderate their fundamentalist positions.

U.S. diplomats have separately engaged the Taliban in secret discussions abroad leading to an agreement on the establishment of a Taliban office in the Gulf state of Qatar, though the Taliban later suspended the talks, blaming Washington for ignoring its demands.

Fear is mounting amongst Afghans and foreign governments alike that the planned pullout of NATO combat troops by the end of 2014 and Afghan national elections in the same year could see the country engulfed in more conflict and bloodshed.

(Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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Comments (3)
Austell wrote:
“President Hamid Karzai” hahahaha!!!

Reuters he won with less than 10% of the Afghan vote… AFTER massive electoral fraud!!!

How in gods name is he a ‘president’..??? You should call him by his proper title – ‘US installed dictator’

May 13, 2012 2:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CDN_Rebel wrote:
@Austell What do you consider a dictator? To me that’s someone who rules by decree and has absolute power; Karzai is neither of those. At best you can say he’s a figurehead, but if he’s ‘US installed’ he’s the most anti-America figurehead they could have chosen. I know what you wrote probably sounds great in your head (or echo-chamber, as it were) but it doesn’t pass even the simplest smell test. Your kind of thinking is the kind that holds back the peace process.

May 13, 2012 5:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Austell wrote:

Well sometimes to be realistic you have to admit there shouldn’t even BE a ‘peace process’… because all it is, is an occupation.

A military occupation, and a political occupation..

Karzai is very similar to the Pakistani ‘president’, both are very pro US but have to put on regular public displays of anti-US sentiment to appease their people – who absolutely HATE the USA.

You’re as naive as a child if you don’t understand this, and if you go along with the standard issue rhetoric designed to make it look like there is any semblence of self determination in Afghanistan, you are just a mimic…

Karzai is a dictator… he is in a unique position because he is a dictator of ‘half an occupied country’. He has to be anti-Taliban (who control half the country) if he wants to appease the US, and he has to be anti-US if he wants to appease his people.

If you don’t call a leader who became ‘president’ with 10% of the vote even AFTER he rigged the polls on a massive scale a DICTATOR… I call you a fool.

It’s your way of thinking that starts wars in the first place, because you place no value on the lives of foreigners and take the moral standpoint of a dictator yourself.

The US should be paying billions in reparations, dissolve the fake constitution they created, dissolve the fake parties they funded and leave immediately in utter shame.

The US must be seen as global dictators before you can even begin to comprehend any situation or foreign nation where they are dictating.

If you keep making excuses for them, probably because you’re American, and lose sight of the fact that they are the most murderous, aggressive country in human history, you lose the right to speak about it as an unbiased observer…

May 13, 2012 7:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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