KABUL: Gunmen shot dead a top Afghan peace negotiator in the capital Kabul on Sunday, police said, dealing a massive blow to the country's attempts to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban insurgents.
Maulvi Arsala Rahmani was one of the most senior members on Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, set up by President Hamid Karzai two years ago to open talks with insurgents.
“He (Rahmani) was stuck in heavy traffic when another car beside him opened fire,” said General Mohammad Zahir, head of the investigations unit for Kabul police.
Rahmani, a former Taliban minister, was on his way to a meeting with lawmakers and other officials in a government-run media centre in the heavily barricaded diplomatic centre of Kabul.
“His driver did not immediately realise that Rahmani had been killed,” police official Zahir told Reuters, adding that no one had been arrested in connection with the shooting.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed, denied involvement in Sunday's assassination.
The head of the peace council and former Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated by a suicide bomber last year.