With several Afghan officials claiming that former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination was plotted across the Afghan border, a delegation of Afghan investigators is all geared up to visit Pakistan to conduct an inquiry into the incident, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Rabbani, who was leading the Afghan High Peach Council, was killed by a turban bomber who was supposedly a peace emissary sent by the Taliban leadership. His murder has seemingly destroyed all efforts made by the Afghanistan-Pakistan joint commission for peace and reconciliation.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed a team on Sunday to investigate Rabbani’s murder which has had a major impact on the war-torn country’s reconciliation process.
Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak is heading the inquiry panel – however, the Afghan diplomatic sources did not reveal who will be leading the delegation which is expected to arrive in Islamabad within a couple of days.
Sources say Rabbani’s killing may also disrupt next month’s meeting of the joint peace commission in Kabul.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was scheduled to travel to Kabul for the meeting to join President Karzai, but the “hostile” environment may delay the meeting, a source said. There is no official word on the fate of the meeting, either from Islamabad or Kabul.
Afghan opposition leader Dr Abdullah Abdullah had called for suspending all contacts and negotiations with the Taliban, and Afghan governor of Balkh province Atta Muhammad has warned that if the government continues its dialogue policy with the Taliban, they will arm the former Mujahideen.
Karzai urged to seek UN’s help in murder investigation
Karzai’s government is under mounting pressure from Rabbani’s Jamiat-e-Islami party to involve the UN in the investigation into the high profile-murder, saying they are dissatisfied with the capability of Afghan intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to probe the incident.
The decision to send a delegation to Pakistan was taken during a recent meeting of former senior Jihadi leaders and senior aides of President Karzai in Kabul. Karzai had called the meeting to discuss the future peace process and matters relating to Rabbani’s murder. The meeting also discussed the appointment of a new leader for the Afghan High Peace Council.
(Read: Afghanistan after Rabbani)
Afghan officials say they have attached high hopes to the delegation’s visit to Islamabad to share information with Pakistan and seek help from Pakistani security officials. They said the investigation and information of Afghanistan’s national security body, so far, shows that the trail leads to Quetta and several individuals.
There were heated debates on Afghan TV channels after Rabbani’s murder, with analysts pointing fingers at the Afghan government, the US, ethnic rivalry and also Pakistan.
Several analysts claimed it to be the work of the Quetta Shura of the Afghan Taliban, the name used by Western media for the top leadership of the Afghan Taliban who are said to be hiding in Quetta. Pakistani officials, however, insist that the Quetta Shura does not exist.
Afghan investigators will mainly be depending on help from Pakistani authorities, and “if they are not satisfied, the Afghan government may have to approach the UN for conducting an investigation”, sources said.
‘Afghanistan should talk to Pakistan, not the Taliban’
The Afghan National Security Adviser and former foreign minister Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta said that the Afghan government should hold talks with Pakistan instead of the Taliban for a solution to the Afghan problem.
Pakistan has already insisted that it will back the Afghan peace process but will not directly sit at the table during the Afghan talks.
Spanta told reporters in Kabul on Thursday that the Taliban have no power to make decisions and are simply depending on others.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2011.