Top Afghan peace negotiator shot dead in Kabul: official

Top Afghan peace negotiator shot dead in Kabul: official

 A senior member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council and close adviser to President Hamid Karzai was shot dead from a passing car in Kabul today.

Arsala Rahmani, a former minister in the Taliban regime, was a "key negotiator" in the council established by Karzai to hold peace talks with Taliban insurgents, a security official and his family told AFP.

"Shortly after leaving home he was hit by a single bullet from a passing car. The bullet passed through his left arm and hit his heart," Rahmani's grandson Mohammad Waris told AFP.

"He died in the hospital."Rahmani "had recently established contacts with senior Taliban leaders," a senior security official told AFP, requesting anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Rahmani, who was the Taliban's higher education minister during their rule from 1996 to 2001, left the Islamic militia and joined Karzai's government after the US invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda on US cities.

His death is seen as a major blow to Karzai's US-backed peace efforts.
The former head of the council, ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani, was killed last September by a purported Taliban suicide bomber posing as a peace envoy.

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