Son of slain peace envoy becomes head of peace council | News | DW | 14.04.2012
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Son of slain peace envoy becomes head of peace council

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appointed Salahuddin Rabbani as the new head of the Afghan High Peace Council. He is the son of the council's previous head, who was assassinated last year.

Afghanistan's government on Saturday appointed Salahuddin Rabbani, the current ambassador to Turkey and son of murdered statesman and peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani, to replace his father as leader of the country's High Peace Council, which has the task of reaching out to Taliban insurgents and finding a political settlement to the country's decade-long war.

Rabbani's appointment was "suitable for consolidating national unity and preventing foreign interference," President Karzai said in a statement.

Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated last September by an insurgent posing as a Taliban peace envoy who had a bomb concealed in his turban. His death was widely seen as a serious setback for government reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

Rabbani's murder also brought about a major diplomatic rift with Pakistan; Afghan officials accused the Pakistani army's intelligence service, ISI, of having a role in the assassination after an investigation established that the suicide bomber was a Pakistani national.

The development will bring Salahuddin Rabbani's current stint as Afghanistan's ambassador to Turkey to an end. He has been presented with no easy task; last month the Taliban halted its peace negotiations with the United States and currently refuses to deal with the Karzai government.

sej/sb (Reuters, AP)