Afghanistan: Taliban peace negotiator Arsala Rahmani shot dead

Taliban fighters walk with their weapons after joining Afghan government forces for a ceremony in Ghazni province on January 16, 2012. Some 20 Taliban fighters including a key commander laid down arms and joined the peace process in Ghazni province. The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the United States. AFP PHOTO/Aref Yaqubi</p>

Taliban fighters walk with their weapons after joining Afghan government forces for a ceremony in Ghazni province on January 16, 2012. Some 20 Taliban fighters including a key commander laid down arms and joined the peace process in Ghazni province. The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the United States. AFP PHOTO/Aref Yaqubi

Arsala Rahmani, a top member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, and close adviser to President Hamid Karzai, was today shot dead in the capital Kabul, Agence France Presse reported.

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Rahmani was a minister during the Taliban rule, and is described as a "key negotiator" in the council, established to spearhead reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

Family members and security officials say he was shot dead by a gunman in a passing car, while he was on his way to work in the capital’s west, the BBC reported.

Witnesses told the BBC a single bullet was fired from a gun using a silencer.

Rahmani’s death comes after High Peace Council chief Burhannudin Rabbani was assassinated in a suicide attack in September 2011.

In April his son Salahuddin Rabbani, who is Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkey, was appointed to replace him.

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The High Peace Council was set up by Karzai two years ago to negotiate and end to the decade long war in Afghanistan