Afghan Peace Council Member Assassinated
Arsala Rahmani, a top Afghan peace council member, was assassinated in Kabul on Sunday, as he was on his way to work.
According to the Washington Post, authorities are stating that the former Taliban member turned peace negotiator was shot down by three unidentified gunmen in central Kabul.
Rahmani, 70, was a former Taliban deputy minister, and was considered a very important mediator between active militants and the current Afghan government.
He was a member of the High Peace Council, who has been responsible for managing reconciliation between the insurgency and government. He is the second council member to be assassinated in the past year.
Huffington Post reports that a member of the Taliban leadership council (Quetta Shura), Agha Jan Motasim, condemned the murder of Rahamani, saying:
“He was a good Muslim. He was a nationalist and worked for an Islamic system in Afghanistan. We respected him.”
Gen Ayub Salangi, a Kabul police chief, told the BBC that:
“Mr Rahmani was shot in his heart and died instantly. His nephew, who was also his driver, didn’t even realise he had been shot.”
The assassination of Arsala Rahmani comes at a difficult time, when the U.S. and other NATO-led forces are attempting to implement a timed exit strategy.
The announcement of a third group of areas to go into the transition period, where Afghan forces will take control and NATO forces leave, was announced on Sunday as well. With the recent rise in violence in Afghanistan, however, some analysts are wondering how safe it will be.
Nisar Hares, a lawmaker, and also a close friend of the victim, stated that:
“It is a big loss for Afghanistan. He was thinking about peace and about key national issues.”
So far, no one has claimed responsibility in the attack.