Afghan peace negotiator Arsala Rahmani shot dead
Kabul, May 13: A senior Afghan peace negotiator has been shot dead in Kabul, officials say.
Arsala Rahmani was a former Taliban minister and a key member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which leads Afghan efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
Correspondents say his death is a major blow to President Hamid Karzai as Rahmani was a key figure in reaching out to Taliban commanders.
Last year the chief of the peace council was killed in a suicide attack.
Burhannudin Rabbani was killed by a bomb hidden in the turban of a suicide attacker posing as a Taliban peace envoy last September.
His US-educated son, Salahuddin Rabbani, was appointed to replace him last month.
Police say that Rahmani was shot dead on Sunday morning by an unidentified gunman while on his way to work in western Kabul, in what was described as a carefully planned attack. Gunmen driving a white Toyota Corolla fired a single bullet using a silencer.
"Rahmani was shot in his heart and died instantly. His nephew, who was also his driver, didn't even realise he had been shot," Kabul police chief Gen Ayub Salangi said.
There had been threats against his life in the past and questions will be raised as to why he was travelling without an armed bodyguard, our correspondent says.
The Taliban have denied involvement in the killing of Rahmani.
An Isaf statement condemned the killing and paid tribute to Rahmani: "His decision to help make the future brighter for Afghans serves as an inspiration to us all and his contributions will be missed".
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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