Afghan Former President and Peace Council Chief Killed

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan police say a suicide attack has killed the country's former president tasked with leading peace efforts with the Taliban.

The blast occurred late Tuesday at the home of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani. One of President Hamid Karzai's advisors, Masoom Stanekzai, was wounded in the attack.

Mr. Rabbani led Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which was set up by President Karzai to find a political end to the war. A spokesman for Mr. Karzai told media that the president is cutting short his trip to the United States for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly because of Mr. Rabbani's death.

The former president lived in the capital's heavily fortified diplomatic zone, near government buildings and the U.S. Embassy.

Last week, Taliban insurgents launched a nearly 20-hour raid in the area with rocket-propelled grenades, gunfire and explosions. It is said to be the longest sustained attack in the capital since the start of the war in 2001.

The militants targeted the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and police elsewhere in the city. Their coordinated assault killed 14 people and wounded more than two dozen others. Afghan security forces, back by NATO helicopters, were able to put an end to the violence, killing all nine attackers.