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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid