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Ex-Afghan President Rabbani Assassinated

Suicide bomber entered his Kabul home with explosives in turban
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2011 10:41 AM CDT
Ex-Afghan President Rabbani Assassinated
This Friday, Nov. 23, 2001 file photo shows former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani .   (BRENNAN LINSLEY)

(Newser) – Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated today, dealing a harsh blow to peace efforts after a decade of war. Officials say a suicide bomber concealing explosives in his turban entered Rabbani's house in Kabul and blew himself up; four of Rabbani's bodyguards also died and a key presidential adviser was wounded. Rabbani, who was president of the Afghan government that preceded the Taliban rule, headed the country's High Peace Council, which was set up by the Afghan government to work toward a political solution to the decade-long war.

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However, it had made little headway since it was formed a year ago. Still, his killing dampens hopes of starting peace negotiations with Taliban insurgents and will hamper efforts to keep regional and ethnic rivalries, which feed the insurgency, in check. As one of the wise old men of Afghan politics and leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Rabbani's role in the attempts to reach a political deal with the Taliban—with the US' blessing—will be hard to replicate in the near future. President Hamid Karzai cut short a visit to the US over the attack. (Read more Taliban stories.)

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