Rabbani’s assassin waited for days to talk to him

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The suicide bomber who assassinated former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani insisted on meeting face-to-face with the former president and waited in Kabul for days to talk with him about brokering peace with the Taliban, an associate of Rabbani’s said on Wednesday. Mohammad Ismail Qasemyar, the international relations adviser for the peace council, said the bomber, identified as Esmatullah, had approached several council officials, telling them that he was an important figure in the Taliban insurgency and would only speak directly with Rabbani.
“He wanted to talk about peace with Professor Rabbani,” Qasemyar said. Qasemyar said the bomber stayed at a house used for guests of the peace council while waiting for Rabbani to return from a trip to Iran. Yesterday, the two met and the attacker went to shake hands with Rabbani at his home, bowing his head near the former president’s chest and detonating a bomb hidden in his turban, Qasemyar said.
The US-led coalition said another attacker was also involved, but that could not be confirmed by Afghan officials.
A Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the killing is still being investigated, said one person has been detained in connection with Rabbani’s death. The assassination dashed hopes for reconciling with the Taliban and raised fears about deteriorating security in Afghanistan just as foreign combat troops are starting to pull out.