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Senior peace negotiator assassinated

Senior peace negotiator assassinated

May 13, 2012 - 10:48

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Unidentified gunmen on Sunday shot dead a prominent member of the High Peace Councilinfo-icon, Maulviinfo-icon Arsala Rahmani, in the heavily-fortified capital Kabul, officials said.

The assailants opened fire on Rahmani, a former Talibaninfo-icon leader and sitting member of the Senate, at 9:30am, when he was on his way to parliament, said a spokesman for the 101st police zone, Hashmatullah Stanikzai.

The militants managed to flee in their car after attacking Rahmani’s vehicle near Kabul University in the 3rd police district, the spokesman added.

Rahmani was killed with a pistol that had a silencer, said Kabul crime branch chief, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahir. "He was stuck in heavy traffic when the attacker in another car opened fire at him."

Rahmani’ s driver came to a checkpoint at the Dehburi square and informed police that the peace council official had been shot dead with pistol having a silencer, a witness said.

Meanwhile, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, chairman of the Senate, denounced the attack as an act of cowardice.

A family member of the victim said Rahmani's body was taken to the Sardar Mohammad Daud Hospital. Rahmani was born in 1944 in the Urgon district of southeastern Paktika province.

He also learnt philosophy and was deputy leader of the Harak-i-Islami Afghanistaninfo-icon party, led by Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi. He was minister of hajjinfo-icon and religious affairs during the mujahideeninfo-icon government. He held the same post in the late Burhannudin Rabbani government.

During Taliban rule, he was appointed as deputy higher educationinfo-icon minister and joined President Hamid Karzai’s government after the collapse of the ultraorthodox militia regime.

Earlier, he was blacklisted by the US but removed from the list two years ago along with 13 other former Taliban members. Having been a senator for two terms, he also served as head of the prisoners’ release commission of the High Peace Council.

Being a religious and political personality, he was against war and championed the cause of peace in Afghanistan, said political analyst, Mohammad Hassan Haqyar.

“Rahmani was not against the Taliban, so he would not be killed by them,” he said, adding he was shot dead by the enemies of peace.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) condemned the killing, saying: “A possible aim of this attack is to intimidate those who, like Rahmani, want to help make Afghanistan a better place for its citizens and the region.

“This attack is clear evidence that those who oppose the legitimate government of Afghanistan have absolutely no interest in supporting the peace process on any level but through murder, thuggery and intimidation," said an ISAF statement.




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