Afghan Officials: Rabbani Killing Planned in Pakistan

Posted October 1st, 2011 at 2:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghanistan's intelligence agency says it has provided evidence to Pakistan that finds last month's killing of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was planned in Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, or NDS, said Saturday the evidence is now with Pakistan's embassy in Kabul.

The spokesman also said the NDS has arrested key people involved in Mr. Rabbani's murder plot who have linked his killing to Taliban leaders.

The NDS said the September 20 suicide bombing that killed Mr. Rabbani was plotted in Satellite, a suburb of the Pakistani city of Quetta.

Taliban leaders are believed based in Quetta. The militant group has not claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mr. Rabbani, formerly the top Afghan peace negotiator with the Taliban.

In related news, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday he would prefer holding peace talks with Pakistan instead of the Taliban, following the murder of Mr. Rabbani. Mr. Karzai said trying to talk peace with the Taliban is futile.

A suicide bomber used a fake peace message from the Taliban to gain access to Mr. Rabbani and killed him at his home in Kabul.

On Friday, a top Western newspaper reported the Afghan government planned to cancel a meeting next week aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. The Afghan government was to have met with senior American and Pakistani officials next Saturday.

President Karzai discussed possible future peace negotiations with the Taliban on Wednesday during a meeting with officials of his government and former commanders of the mujahideen forces who fought against Soviet forces after Moscow's troops invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

Mr. Karzai's office says that, in contrast to his efforts to arrange peace with insurgents over the past three years, the Taliban has “martyred” religious leaders, tribal elders and “women and children, old and young.”