Because this assassination is too significant to ignore, even if I have no information or insight that can't be gleaned from news accounts...
Turban bomb kills key Afghan political leader
The headline (for once) understates the weight of what happened in Kabul two days ago. Burhanuddin Rabbani was tabbed last year by President Karzai to chair the Afghan peace council, the vehicle by which the powers that be hope the government can persuade at least most of the insurgency to negotiate a peace. He was seen as the only logical choice, a past national leader (Afghanistan's president from 1992 to '96) who carried weight with both the Northern Alliance factions and the Pashtuns. Although he presided over the most tragic of modern Afghan eras -- the brutal civil war which destroyed Kabul and paved the way for the Taliban's takeover -- he had emerged from the war against the Soviet Union as a Mujahiddin leader from the north and a skilled power broker.
Kabul, 1993 - Filmmaker Richard Mackenzie with Pres. Rabbani.
Richard, a good friend, kindly shared this from his archives.
Rabbani was killed in much the same way that his one-time chief Ahmad Shah Massoud was, ten years ago this month...by politely receiving guests. In Massoud's case it was phony journalists, and in Rabbani's it was phony peace envoys, but in each instance the bombers deceived hosts about their intentions and waited for days to get close to their respective targets. The attackers exploited ancient customs of hospitality to ambush great men who posed a threat to their unpopular but brutal organizations of terror. In Massoud's time it was a camera casing the bomb, in Rabbani's it was a turban -- a symbol of piety. But as we have seen time and time again, there is no pious respect from those who kill in the name of a twisted version of faith to which they wish to subject their country.
Incidentally, yesterday was the UN's designated International Day of Peace...a day I found so hopeful last year when I had the chance to commemorate it with hundreds of Afghan schoolchildren. I hope that this most recent setback to peace in that land doesn't turn out to be as significant as it now seems.