Son of Rabbani is new leader of Afghan peace talks

Kabul: The son of Afghanistan`s slain peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was today appointed the new head of the Afghan High Peace Council to lead reconciliation talks with the Taliban, months after his father`s assassination dealt a major blow to the peace efforts.

Salahuddin Rabbani, the son of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, "was appointed in a unanimous agreement as the new chairman of Afghanistan High Peace Council," during a meeting with council members at the presidential palace today, Afghan President Hamid Karzai`s press office said in a statement.

Stepping into his father`s shoes, Rabbani, who is currently the Afghan ambassador to Istanbul, said in a statement that it was only through peace that stability and security can be ensured in Afghanistan. "We look at peace as a religious principle," he said endorsing the importance of an Afghan-led reconciliation process in the violence hit country. He said the peace process would be successful if it was led by "Afghans themselves, otherwise public confidence cannot be won in fulfilling this national and Islamic duty."

President Karzai described Rabbani`s appointment as a "move that will further forge national unity and an appropriate decision to prevent outside interferences into Afghan internal affairs". Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former leader of the peace efforts initiated by Karzai to facilitate talks with Taliban in 2010, was killed by a suicide bomber at his home in Kabul last September. The bomber posed as a Taliban envoy, and had hidden the bomb in his turban.

The killing of Rabbani dealt a major blow to Karzai`s efforts towards peace in the country. The efforts of the High Peace Council are dircted at achieving political resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan to restore peace and stability. While negotiating with the Taliban insurgents, the council also lays forward economic incentives and jobs to them. Karzai said that for the sake of peace "we all have to stand firm with one voice".