Senior Afghan peace negotiator shot dead | News | DW | 13.05.2012
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Senior Afghan peace negotiator shot dead

A senior Afghan peace negotiator has been killed by gunmen. His death deals another blow to efforts by the Afghan government to achieve a peace deal with Taliban insurgents.

Afghan police say gunmen have shot dead a top peace negotiator involved in talks with Taliban insurgents.

General Mohammad Zahir, head of the Kabul investigations unit, said Maulvi Arsala Rahmani was hit by gunfire from another car while his vehicle was stuck in traffic in the capital on Sunday.

Rahmani, a former Taliban minister, was on his way to a meeting with lawmakers and other officials in the heavily barricaded diplomatic center of Kabul.

He was one of the most senior members on Afghanistan's High Peace Council, set up two years ago to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban insurgents.

His death is seen as a major blow to peace efforts by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. On Twitter, the United States embassy in Kabul called the killing of another peace council member "a tragedy."

Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who once headed the peace council, was assassinated by a suicide bomber in September last year.

Rahmani was the Taliban's higher education minister during their rule from 1996 to 2001, but left the Islamic militia to join Karzai's government after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

tj/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)