Rahmani laid to rest amid calls for killers’ arrest
KABUL (PAN): The Senate chairman and High Peace Council members asked the government to use all its resources to arrest the killers of Maulvi Arsalan Rahmani, a prominent peace negotiator who was buried amid moving scenes in Kabul.
Rahmani’s funeral prayers were attended by hundreds of people, including his colleagues, government officials and residents in the Dehbori area of Kabul -- a day after he was killed by unknown gunmen on his way to Parliament.
His death dealt a blow to efforts to negotiate a political resolution to the decade-long war. It was the second killing of a prominent member of the council that was set up to reach out to insurgents.
In September 2011, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, the council's head, was assassinated in his Kabul home by a suicide bomber posing as a Taliban peace emissary.
Military officials carried Rahmani's coffin, covered in a black cloth inscribed with verses from the Quran in gold, to a cemetery in the area. After his burial, Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, Afghanistan Ulema Council head Qayamuddin Kashaf and High Peace Council member Abdul Hakim Muhajid told reporters the killers of Rahmani should not be spared.
Muslimyar said they would mount pressure on the government to investigate the murder of Rahmani and give the people a convincing answer in this regard. He added the government was responsible for protecting its citizens. He asked the Karzai administration to make every effort to arrest the killers.
The Ulema Council chief Qayamuddin Kashaf called on the insurgents to shun violence and take part in next general elections as a political solution to the war was better than resorting to violence. “The elections will reveal who has how many supporters,” he said.
Kashaf stressed the need for national unity and asked neighbouring countries to be friends instead of enemies. “I want to ask neighbours what kind of enmity we have with you,” he asked.
Meanwhile, political analyst said Rahmani’s assassination was great loss and the vacuum created with his death would take a long time to be filled.
They called Rahmani a trustable personality for both the Taliban and the Afghan government for his popularity among people.
“Rahmani was an active member of the high peace council and he made real efforts to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan in a peaceful way,” Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"There is no one else, both in the government and in the council, to replace Rahmani," he believed, adding Rahmani’s killing would slow down the council’s efforts at seeking a negotiated end to the conflict.
A splinter Taliban group has asserted responsibility for Sunday’s drive-by assassination of Rahmani. Haqyar said it was “a fictitious name” used by regional intelligence agencies.
Born in 1944, Rahmani was a resident of the Urgon district of southeastern Paktika province. He also learnt philosophy and was deputy leader of the Harakat-i-Islami Afghanistan party, led by Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi.
During Taliban rule, he was appointed as deputy higher education minister and joined President Hamid Karzai’s government after the collapse of the ultraorthodox militia regime.
He had been blacklisted by the US, but dropped from the list two years ago along with 13 other former Taliban members. The two-time senator had also served as head of the prisoners’ release commission of the High Peace Council.
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