Dealing another blow to the peace process in Afghanistan, a top member of Karzai’s High Peace Council was shot dead of Sunday. Arsala Rahmani was an erstwhile Taliban minister turned peace negotiator with the government. With his unique experience as a man who had a good understanding of how the Taliban worked, Mr. Rahmani was a precious resource. He was expected to lead the way in the peace talks with Taliban.
With his death, the death toll of high-ranking members of the Peace Council goes up to two in the past year. Last year, Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed in a suicide bombing attack. He was the head of the Peace Council It is suspected that Taliban was behind the death of Mr. Rahmani though Taliban has denied any role into his killing. Rahmani was the deputy minister for education in the Taliban government. He was easily recognizable with his thick horn-rimmed glasses, dyed beard and black turban. His death has an adverse effect on the other Taliban hands who would be more concerned about their own security now. This news cast a dark shadow on the security transfer that now places almost 75% of the country under the direct control of the Afghan security forces.
As Afghanistan prepares itself to take over the security of its own country, such attacks do act as deterrents and lower the morale of the security setup. As NATO forces prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014, it is causing a lot of anxiety to the local population about the ability of the Afghan forces to keep the Taliban at bay and to provide security to the Afghani citizens.
The killing happened just a few hours before the Afghan President announced the beginning of the third phase of the gradual security handover to the Afghan police and army. The Afghan police and army will now have almost three-fourths of Afghanistan’s security totally in their hands including key provinces like Kandahar that was once the seat of power of Taliban. The National army and police, in addition to Taliban threats, are also battling attrition, corruption, and nepotism and drug abuse. Though the process has begun, the actual handover might take up to 18 months. The transition will be carefully monitored and guided by the NATO forces to ensure that it can proceed without hitches and is sustainable. It is to be seen in the days ahead how smooth this transition will actually be.
Do watch the video above to see President Obama’s latest visit to Afghanistan and his address to the troops there.
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