News / Asia

Killing of Afghan Ex-President Raises New Doubts About War

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New York, September 20, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New York, September 20, 2011.

A suicide bomber killed former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul on Tuesday. As head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, Rabbani was tasked with leading efforts to find a political solution to the 10-year war with the Taliban. The significance of his death looms large for the future of the war in Afghanistan.

Rabbani began his career in 1971, when he became head of Jamiat-e-Islami. The Islamist party later formed one of the mujahedeen groups that fought Soviet forces following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

An ethnic Tajik, Rabbani became president of a shaky mujahedeen coalition government in 1992 after the collapse of the country's Soviet-backed communist government. The struggle for power among mujahedeen groups, split along mainly ethnic lines, sparked a civil war that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Rabbani's presidency ended in 1996, with the rise of the Taliban, which was dominated by ethnic Pashtuns.

He then became the nominal head of the Northern Alliance, which joined with international forces in ousting the Taliban from power in 2001.

Rabbani regained political prominence almost a decade later, when he was named head of President Hamid Karzai's peace council in October of 2010.

Defense analyst Ikram Sehgal said that Rabbani was uniquely suited to lead the talks with the Taliban.

"The Taliban were willing to talk to him; they did not trust him fully because he was on the opposite side, but, at the same time, the fact of the matter remained that they took him up as an honest, upright person," said Sehgal. "And with that, you know, that loss is going to be very difficult to fill. There will be a vacuum there, which means people will have to go back and start the whole process over again."

There had been hopes that that the "surge" of NATO troops in Afghanistan would force the Taliban into negotiations. A strategy favored by top U.S. officials was to create conditions so militarily unfavorable that the Taliban would agree to cut a political deal with the Kabul government. A possible political settlement would thereby allow the transition of security responsibility from international troops to Afghan forces, which is set to be complete by the end of 2014.

For retired Pakistani colonel and security expert Khalid Munir, the death of Rabbani makes that outcome highly unlikely.

"This is very unlikely now. First off, the peace process will be delayed by months [or], if I am not wrong, by year, and America’s dream of moving out peacefully by 2014 will not materialize," said Munir.

Rabbani's death also is the latest in a long string of events indicating that the insurgency has changed its tactics from battlefield engagements to more spectacular bombings and assassinations.

In July, a suicide bomber killed President Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, changing the dynamic in southern Afghanistan, where he was a power broker. That assassination called into question the security situation in Afghanistan, raising doubts about whether real progress was being made.

Rabbani’s killing is likely to raise similar doubts, both inside and outside Afghanistan, about the course of the war against the Taliban.



You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid