News / Asia

Chaotic Scene Marks Burial of Afghan Ex-President and Peacemaker

An Afghan security official escorts the coffin containing body of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the slain former President and head of High Peace Council, as the body is transported to the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 23, 2011.
An Afghan security official escorts the coffin containing body of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the slain former President and head of High Peace Council, as the body is transported to the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 23, 2011.

Thousands of mourners helped bury Afghanistan's former president and head peace broker with the Taliban, Burhanuddin Rabbani, days after he was killed by a suicide bomber at his home.

Friday's funeral in Kabul drew large crowds of people who pushed and shoved around Rabbani's coffin.  During the hilltop ceremony, dozens of Rabbani supports chanted angry slogans against the United States, Pakistan and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  Some even threw stones at Afghan security forces, prompting police to fire their guns into the air.

At one point, security guards tried to stop a Rabbani ally, former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, from joining the crowd.  Saleh shouted angrily, "a terrorist was allowed to enter and kill our leader, but we are not allowed to attend his burial."  He also vowed to take to the streets, saying the government does not have the right to talk with "enemies anymore," in a reference to Taliban reconciliation talks.

The scene was far different earlier on Friday at the presidential palace, where President Karzai told mourners that it is Afghanistan's responsibility to act against those who are "enemies of peace."

Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, was killed Tuesday by a suicide bomber claiming to carry a reconciliation message from the Taliban.  The attacker hid explosives in his turban.

The former president was the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council and was spearheading peace efforts with the Taliban.

Many fellow Tajiks attending Rabbani's funeral on Friday vowed to avenge his death.

Rabbani became president of a shaky mujahedeen coalition government in 1992 after the collapse of the country's Soviet-backed communist government.  His presidency ended in 1996, with the rise of the Taliban.

The former president then became the nominal head of the Northern Alliance, made up of Afghanistan's ethnic minorities.  The alliance joined with international forces in ousting the mainly ethnic-Pashtun Taliban from power in 2001.

President Karzai said Thursday the suicide bomber had presented officials with an audio message of a purported Taliban peace offer. He said he had listened to it before leaving for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.  Karzai cut short his U.S. trip after Rabbani's assassination.

A spokesman for the Afghan intelligence agency said Thursday officials believe the Taliban's leadership body, the Quetta Shura, was behind the assassination.

There is conflicting information regarding the claim of responsibility.  A Taliban spokesman told the Reuters news agency that the group carried out the attack, but another Taliban spokesman rejected that claim and said the insurgent group would not comment on Rabbani's assassination.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More