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Suicide bomber kills peace envoy

2012-04-06 22:16

Asadabad - A suicide bomber assassinated an Afghan peace envoy and former mujahedeen commander on Friday, in the latest blow to stuttering reconciliation efforts in the violence-wracked country.

Maulavi Mohammad Hashem Munib, the head of the government's High Peace Council in Kunar province, was killed along with his son and a bodyguard, the presidency said in a statement.

"He was on his way home from Friday prayers when he was attacked by a suicide attacker," provincial police chief Ewaz Mohammad Nazari told AFP.

One witness said that both Munib and the attacker had been torn to pieces, with body parts littering the scene.

Kunar, an eastern province bordering Pakistan, is a stronghold of the decade-long Taliban-led insurgency against President Hamid Karzai's government and its Western allies.

Attack condemned

Karzai condemned the attack, saying that "the enemies of the people of Afghanistan have martyred one of the messengers of peace".

"The terrorists are trying to undermine the role of elders who are working for the good of Afghanistan, but they should realise that they can never achieve their evil goals by such heinous acts," he said.

The national head of the High Peace Council, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated last year by a purported Taliban envoy who hid a bomb in his turban.

Rabbani's murder - Afghanistan's most high-profile political killing since a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban after the September 11 2001 attacks - was a major setback to Karzai's hopes of securing a deal with the militants.

As well as trying to negotiate with insurgents, the High Peace Council tries to reconcile them with offers of money and jobs.

But in a report last month the International Crisis Group questioned the organisation's "efficacy and legitimacy", citing "the predominance of mujahedeen and factional leaders" appointed to it.

Insurgent organisation

Munib - also a member of Afghanistan's Ulema Council, a government-funded Islamic authority - was a former senior commander of Hezb-i Islami, one of the major Afghan mujahedeen groups that fought Soviet troops in the 1980s.

It is now sometimes regarded as the second-biggest insurgent organisation in Afghanistan after the Taliban, but Munib left it before Karzai took power and he had never taken up arms against the current government.

Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, a senior official in the Peace Council, described Munib as an "influential figure", saying he had "drawn many insurgents to lay down arms and join the peace process" and blaming the Taliban for his death.

The Taliban could not immediately be reached for comment.

Progress towards peace negotiations in Afghanistan has been long, slow and complicated, with no sign that substantive talks are under way.

Negotiations

Kabul has said several times that it is in negotiations with the Taliban, who insisted in turn that they were only prepared to talk to representatives of the United States. Washington says the process should be Afghan-led.

Nato's US-led International Security Assistance Force has 130 000 troops in Afghanistan helping fight the insurgency and train Kabul's forces, but the bulk of them are due to be withdrawn by the end of 2014.

Analysts say there is a risk of the conflict deepening afterwards without a sustainable peace deal.

Comments
  • Clive - 2012-04-07 07:51

    Proves yet again that these Muslim extremists have no interest in peace.

      Rob - 2012-04-07 08:39

      Perhaps when they have forced their primitive religion on everyone else, doubt it though, there will always be extreme factions that resort to violence and terrorism.

      Zahed - 2012-04-07 11:25

      Thats what the apartheid government used to say about the ANC.

      Fred - 2012-04-07 13:14

      Zahed, Islamic extremists have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Muslims with their car bombs and suicide attacks. Are you not aware of this?

  • Fred - 2012-04-07 08:49

    Peace, religious fanatic style.

  • Jerzy - 2012-04-07 09:22

    I bet the invaders have interest in peace. The killing of innocent by suicide bombs and drones are exactly the same. Both have no interest in peace. Your ignorant comments about primitive religion can be played both ways. Former US president bush clearly remarked that he was on a mission from God. Is he not killing in the name of a fake religion??

      Fred - 2012-04-07 13:20

      It is not the same thing. Islamic extremists INTENTIONALLY target, kill and maim civilians in their attempt to prevent change to greater freedom and human rights. Drone attacks are COUNTER-ATTACKS against Al-Quaida and the Taliban WHO HAVE DECLARED AND ARE WAGING WAR against the freer world (this means you). Civilians are not targeted. To the contrary, great efforts are made to avoid them.

  • Jerzy - 2012-04-07 09:23

    Where were you all when ethnic cleansing of Muslims by backward Christians was common practise in Bosnia??

      Fred - 2012-04-07 13:23

      Nato intervened and ended that war. Many lives were saved.

  • Navin - 2012-04-07 11:08

    When this area had \idol\ worshippers , peace existed ! The people were filled with the karmic laws that guided their lives

      Fred - 2012-04-07 13:24

      When was that?

  • Jerzy - 2012-04-07 14:18

    Fred,you have no idea how many innocent civilians have been killed by drone attacks. The UN itself is critical of drone attacks because they kill indiscriminately. As for NATO intervening in Bosnia, too little too late. Fact of the matter is still, Muslim males were entically cleansed by by bible bashing christians. Accept it!!!

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