October 4, 2011

Daily brief: Karzai breaks off peace talks

From The AfPak Channel by Andrew Lebovich -

In a statement released Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called attempts to negotiate with the Taliban "futile" in the wake of the killing of former president and High Peace Council chair Burhanuddin Rabbani, saying that Afghanistan should instead focus on talking with Pakistan, implying Pakistani involvement with militants (Guardian, WSJ, BBC, ET, CSM, AFP). The statement came as Afghan government officials said their investigation into Rabbani's killing found evidence the attack was planned in the Pakistani city of Quetta and carried out by a Pakistani, while Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said Sunday there were "no doubts" that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) was involved in Rabbani's death (BBC, Dawn, Reuters, ET, CNN, Tel). Officials said they had handed over the evidence to Pakistan's government (Reuters).

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry strongly denied the allegations Sunday, calling Mohammadi's statement "baseless," while hundreds of Afghans protested against Pakistan in Kabul Sunday (Reuters, LAT, AP, Dawn, ET, ET). Sirajuddin Haqqani, the day-to-day head of the insurgent Haqqani Network, also denied responsibility for killing Rabbani in written statements to the BBC Pashto service, rejected charges that his group is linked to the ISI, and expressed his loyalty to Taliban leader Mullah Omar (BBC, Tel, Dawn, AFP).

NATO said Saturday that international forces in the eastern province of Paktia had captured a Haqqani commander named Haji Mali Khan, whom they identified as the group's top figure in Afghanistan (NYT, LAT, Tel, AP, BBC, FT).


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