This won’t halt Afghan progress: Karzai

Published: September 20, 2011

US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New York September 20, 2011. The head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, was killed in Kabul today. REUTERS

NEW YORK: 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday in his first reaction to the assassination of ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani that Afghans would not be deflected from their path towards peace.

Rabbani was an “Afghan patriot who sacrificed his life,” Karzai said during talks with US President Barack Obama in New York, hours after the former Afghan president was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul.

“This will not deter us from continuing down the path we have started,” said Karzai, who also thanked Obama for his expressions of condolence.

Obama called Rabbani’s death a “tragic loss” and “tragic news” as he met Karzai during his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

“He was a man who cared very deeply about Afghanistan.”

“We both believe that despite this incident that we will not be deterred from creating a path whereby Afghans can live in freedom, safety, security and prosperity,” Obama said.

(Read: America’s SPECTRE syndrome in Afghanistan)

After Rabbani’s killing prompted Karzai to cut short his visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly, his spokesman said.

Speaking in Kabul, Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that those behind Rabbani’s killing “will not prevail.”

“To those who offer only death and destruction to the Afghan people, our message is clear: you will not prevail,” Rasmussen said in a statement.

“You will not stop the Afghan people from taking their destiny in their own hands and you will not shake the resolve of the international and Afghan partnership. “We will continue to work shoulder to shoulder to provide a better and safer future for the Afghan people.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2011.

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