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Monday 14 November 2011

Ethnic war looms as suspicions fall on Pakistan over Rabbani?s murder

09/21/2011 17:04
Ethnic war looms as suspicions fall on Pakistan over Rabbani?s murder 
The deadly attack against the chief of the High Peace Council throws the country into chaos. Pakistan?s secret services are suspected. Sources tell AsiaNews that the attack might signal a change in strategy that began with the attack against the US Embassy in Kabul. Hundreds of people demonstrate in the capital against Rabbani?s murder.

Kabul (AsiaNews) ? ?Burhanuddin Rabbani?s murder aggravates an already tense situation. Whoever killed him targeted a man who worked for dialogue and peace. His murder represents a point of no-return for the future of Afghanistan,? sources told AsiaNews in Kabul as they spoke about the murder of the Afghan High Peace Council chief. His death represents the top high profile murder in the country since the United States invaded in 2001 and comes only two months after the deadly attack against Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president?s brother. Today, hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the Pakistani Embassy and in the streets of Kabul to protest against Rabbani?s murder.

An ethnic Tajik, the 71-yeare-old Rabbani was one of the country?s foremost public figures. Founder of the Jemaah Islamiyah, he led the fight to drive out the Soviets (1979- 1989) together with General Massoud. During the Afghan civil war (1992 ?1996), he served as president. In October 2010, President Karzai appointed him head of the High Peace Council tasked with negotiating with the Taliban, but so far he had no success. 

He died yesterday afternoon during a meeting with some Taliban leaders. His attacker, who was a member of the delegation, hid the bomb inside his turban. 

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, but many believe that it is only an attempt to divert attention away from those who were actually behind the assassination.

The anti-peace camp appears to be changing strategy and Pakistan?s secret services are very likely involved, sources told AsiaNews. ?The demonstrations in front of the embassy are a sign that people can?t stand Islamabad?s interference despite the lack of real evidence? of their involvement, they explained. 

The careful planning that went into preparing the attack has raised suspicions, especially since it comes so close to the 13 September attack against the US Embassy, the worst act of war in the capital since the Taliban were chased out of the city.

Despite tight security, 30 Taliban were able to enter the city, and easily place an entire arsenal inside a building under construction. Similarly, the suicide bomber who killed Rabbani infiltrated the delegation and knew his target. 

For the sources, both episodes show the work of secret services and Special Forces rather than fighters raised in a madrassah and used to fighting in the mountains.

People are scared by the confused situation, which shows the weakness of the government to manage the situation and is likely to delay the pullout of US troops in 2014. 

?The situation is very tense,? sources told AsiaNews. ?Rabbani was Tajik and relations between Pashtuns and Tajiks are not good. An ethnic war could break out alongside the Taliban threat and destroy the country once more.? (S.C.)

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