Turban bomb kills key Afghan political leader
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani is shown in a 2008 photo.
September 20th, 2011
01:46 PM ET

Turban bomb kills key Afghan political leader

[Update 1:51 p.m. ET] NATO's International Security Assistance Force said two suicide bombers detonated themselves in the attack that killed Afghanistan peace council leader Burhanuddin Rabbani at his home in Kabul on Tuesday afternoon.

Afghan officials earlier said there was one bomber. That attacker, who claimed to be a Taliban member who had come for talks about peace and reconciliation, hid the explosive device inside his turban, said Hasmat Stanikzai, spokesman for Kabul police.

Rabbani was president of Afghanistan before the Taliban deposed him in 1996, and he had been heading the largest political party standing in opposition to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Rabbani was long considered crucial to Afghan and coalition efforts to bring Taliban leaders into the reconciliation process.

[Update 1:46 p.m. ET] Afghan President Hamid Karzai called Burhanuddin Rabbani's killing a "very tragic loss" for his country.

Speaking at the United Nations in New York, where world leaders are preparing to speak to the U.N. General Assembly this week, Karzai described Rabbani as "an Afghan patriot" who "has sacrificed his life for the sake of Afghanistan and for the peace of our country."

[Update 1:21 p.m. ET] The suicide bombing that killed Afghanistan peace council leader Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul on Tuesday afternoon shows that the Taliban don't want peace with the Afghan government, said Gen. John R. Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

"This is another outrageous indicator that, regardless of what Taliban leadership outside the country say, they do not want peace, but rather war," Allen said in a statement released Tuesday. "Their only goal with this completely immoral act is to turn the clock back to the darkness synonymous with the Taliban movement.

A suicide bombing killed Rabbani and wounded council official Masoom Stanikzai and three others at Rabbani's home in Kabul, Afghan authorities said. The attack happened when a meeting was due to take place between Rabbani and a delegation representing the Taliban insurgency.

The suicide bomber claimed to be a Taliban member who had come for the talks about peace and reconciliation, and detonated the explosives as he entered the home, said Hasmat Stanikzai, spokesman for Kabul police.

"Our condolences go out to the families of Prof. Rabbani and Minister Stanikzai," Allen said. "We will continue to work closely with our Afghan partners in our march toward peace, and to hold those responsible for this heinous act accountable for their crimes against the people of Afghanistan."

[Update 12:57 p.m. ET] The suicide bomber who killed Afghanistan peace council leader Burhanuddin Rabbani and wounded one of Rabbani's top advisers on Tuesday had hidden the explosive device in his turban, Kabul police spokesman Hasmat Stanikzai has confirmed.

The attack happened at Rabbani's home in Kabul as he was meeting with Taliban elements that he believed wanted reconciliation, a senior official with NATO's International Security Assistance Force said earlier.

Four other people were wounded, including Masoom Stanikzai, the peace council's secretary and a key adviser to Rabbani, the police spokesman said.

[Update 12:10 p.m. ET] Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of Afghanistan's peace council who authorities said was killed in a suicide bombing at his house in Kabul Tuesday, was meeting with Taliban elements he believed wanted reconciliation when the attack happened, a senior ISAF official said.

Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan, was "known for welcoming others in the traditional way," the official said. "We don't know if the visitors were even checked for weapons."

A top Rabbani adviser, Masoom Stanekzai, is believed to be badly wounded, a senior ISAF official told CNN. A doctor at a 400-bed hospital in Kabul said that two other people - a bodyguard and an assistant to Rabbani - also were injured.

[Update 11:52 a.m. ET] Tuesday's attack that killed Burhanuddin Rabbani - a former Afghan president who headed Afghanistan's High Peace Council - was a suicide bombing inside his home in Kabul, said Mohammad Zahir, chief of investigations for Kabul police.

The bomber arrived at Rabbani's house at the same time a meeting was due to take place between Rabbani and a delegation representing the Taliban insurgency, an Afghan intelligence source told CNN.

The same source said it was unclear how the bomber got inside the house, but the bomber detonated a device that was concealed within his turban.

[Update 10:51 a.m. ET] Burhanuddin Rabbani, a key political figure in Afghanistan, was killed in an attack on his home Tuesday, a member of Afghanistan's peace council said.  The attack on the home triggered temporary lockdowns at the U.S. Embassy and headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force as authorities investigated the sound of an explosion and what the target had been.

Rabbani, a former Afghan president, headed the country's High Peace Council.

[Update 10:45 a.m. ET] Personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, were instructed to take cover Tuesday due to an incident outside the embassy's perimeter, an embassy spokesman said. It appears the embassy was not the target of the incident, the spokesman said.

soundoff (311 Responses)
  1. Beverly NC

    Another very strong reason we need to get our troops OUT of Afghanistan. There is NOTHING to win there. The Taliban have always been there and they will still be there when we leave. They outlasted the British who fought, then the Soviet Union who fought there and now America. We will NEVER WIN against them. We got Osama bin Laden – our mission is OVER. Stop these useless Bush wars and bring home our troops and our money from Iraq and Afghanistan!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      The Taliban have only been around since the 1990's, so the British (in terms of in the 19th century) and Soviet's never fought them. Our mission is not over because there are still evil people plotting catostrophic attacks from that region against the United States. If we left the Afghan government to fend for themselves at this moment, then it would likely fall and terrorists would have a safe haven. Look at Iraq. Most wanted us to leave around 2006 because of the violence but we stayed the course and are handing over the reigns to a functional government capable of defending itself. We have to do the same in Afghanistan, where we've made a promise to see this through. Otherwise, our children and children's children will be faced with the same problems we have today.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Pokey

      Spare me Rick, have you been there recently? I am on my 2nd tour there; it is the most open secret in the regioin that the country will fail even if we stay there 20 years. The ANA is worthless 9 times out of 10, the corruption is insane, and the people will always sell themselves to the highest bidder. Control them with cruise missles and drones, and beef up our own country's security. Stop being the world's police! People with your thought process will just bleed us dry fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Fawad

      Beverly is correct. Talibans are primarily Afghans and tribal Pathans who are the same people who fought british. They are fighters by nature. There was a reason Pakistan was always negotiating peace with tribal leaders (Pathans) but US felt as if they are the masters of the world 10 years ago and started the same mess Russians and British couldn't handle. Now US will run away and history will remember one more nation who couldn't defeat the Afghans.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • HRPuckinfutz

      Rick: While I agree with your comments about Afghanistan, I must disagree with your statements regarding Iraq. Currently, I work in Baghdad and I can tell you that the government here is NOT functional and it certainly is NOT capable of defending itself. It has no armor, no air force, it military ranks are rife with anti government sympathizers, its soldiers are poorly trained and most join simply because they are unemployed. There is little loyalty to the government within the military. When the American forces leave Iraq, it will degenerate into a bloody civil war, and then Iran will either march in and take the country over, or will provide weapons and tactical support to Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army and then will place him into power to rule the country on Iran's terms. Iraq is not ready for us to leave. But it never will be.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakhill3

      Rick – your understanding of the PEOPLE over there is sadly minimal. First, promises were made by people that had no idea what they were promising, and whose understanding of other people, other cultures, was as lacking as about 85% of the rest of the people in the US (I was going to say 90%, but am trying hard to be generous here.) We can not "win" in Afghanistan. There IS no winning. And while you seem to think Iraq's government is now functional, I would have to say it is extremely fragile, and it wouldn't take much to backslide. We are in two places we had no business being in the first place. I understand the get Bin Laden thing. But our government turned that into something else altogether – something that should have never been. And then to invade Iraq? Shame on us. We need to get out, and stay out. And start minding our own business. This nation building nonsense we keep engaging in repeatedly, along with our propensity to "police" the world, must stop.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Good Post, but I have one argument. The US will be the latest in a long line of countries that went to Afghanistan to fight a war and try to help them join the 19th century....AND DECIDED ONCE THEY GOT THERE THAT AFGHANISTAN WASN'T WORTH THE EFFORT.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveinCincy

      I didn't know the President had the power to send the troops to war....genious.
      I agree on the premise...bring the troops home, and support with drone strikes and Special Ops.
      Stop wasting money on building anything for people who would rather live in the stone age.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keith

    uhm it should always be on alert in that country

    September 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kularash

    Can't trust them.. It was a turban bomber posing as a peace negotiator..

    September 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. A

    Beverly, please get your facts straight before you start making comments. The Taliban have not been around forever. Their first major military attack was in 1994. In regards to your comment about "Bush Wars", don't you remember that the majority of Congress approved the attacks inside Afghanistan against AQ and Taliban targets?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Pokey

      The mission there is broken. Who will repair all the facilities we leave them? Who will pay the locals once our money runs out? Our country cannot sustain the budget it takes to prop up that regime, and the US will not get rid of the regime, so we are wasting lives and money for nothing. And I am on my second tour there in a rebuilding position, so prove to me that we are helping the common people over there. Padding the corrupt Afghan's pocket is about all we are doing.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |

    AFghanistan goes goes through a vicious cycle of violence. The country was used by the west to wage war against the soviet union. The west/US brought Arab and Pakistani terrorists to the country to fight commies. After the fall of soviet union the country was abandoned with terrorist groups (and young bin laden) to fester. Then came 911. again the country was focused on. this time for the right reason of defeating terrorists and not abandoning the country again. Poor afghans died, maimed and suffered untold miseries. Now if the west/US has no stomach to face hardship, it should stop playing the countries for their strategic games. After using and abusing AFghans now making the lame, ignorant calls of "taliban" will always be there and we must leave is evidence of nothing but cowardice and moral bunckruptcy.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |

    To Beverly NC: Do you even know WHY we are here? As one of the troops that feel need to "come home", I know exactly why I am here and whether its useless or not. I'm here to tell you that we are doing good things here and that our mission, as useless and unecessary as you think it is, is having a positive effect on the country and the people of Afghanistan. I can't begin to tell you how upset it makes me to read comments from someone who knows nothing about why we are here... someone that just thinks that this is another useless "Bush War". Tell ya what, why dont you dig a little deeper and let me know what our mission is here. Then I will TELL you if the impact we are having here is worth our being here. Listen, no one hates to see soldiers, seman and airmen die more than I do. But, our mission here is a good one and I find it extremely offensive to read your call my efforts here "useless" and then call for the government to bring me "the troops" home... without even asking me how I feel about it.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • James C

      Left out Marines...Kind of hard to forget about us.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • no-no

      yea ding good work..like dying everyday and destroying the US economy. You can die here and save us money

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. joe

    afghanistan is the new mexico

    September 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Hey, I live in New Mexico... Its not Afghanistan 😀

      September 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jackson

    Bev, it's more a matter of surviving than winning. Yes, we got OBL, but unless you've been there, you underestimate the brutality and evil that thrives amongst the Taliban. They will grant sanctuary to anyone (the next OBL, and there are many lined up to take his place) who allow them to continue their perverted thinking. We CAN win, but in this day and age, wars are fought on CNN and the 6 O'clock news. We could pound the Taliban and their crony brethren, the Paki ISI, into dust in a matter of minutes, but the world would condemn us. To allow them to 'always be there' would amount to our safety and freedom to be "always threatened". It's just not as easy as one would think or want it to be.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. metro

    Burhandding rabbani never did any goods for afghans or afghanistan. He just collected money from USA in order to bring peace but in reality did nothing. History will judge who is good and bad for Afghans and Afghanistan.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. jordan

    Get the hell out of this country and save us money.This country will never stop fighting.This is their way of life and they have fought over land,etc for who knows how many years.
    The US will never totally win and this is the younger Generation's Vietnam.
    Start the massive protests just like my Generation did and they will all go home a lot quicker.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. us1776

    So have we left yet?

    Shut down this huge Bush-leftover money-pit operation now. Forget some timetable – we need to just leave.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. NOMADinCaNADA2

    I know you guys are not big on world history. Even the history that affects or directly links to your adventures of the last 20-30 years. But remember Taliban are the off spring of those soviet fighting Mujahideen (freedom fighters) who were born in Pakistani managed, Arab financed incubators in pakistani refugee camps. The leaders of Mujahideen were compared to founding fathers by Ronald Reagan.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Kularash

      @NOMADinCaNADA2 America did commit mistakes and has already paid enough. It's time to get out of that hell and let them sort the f^&K out.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • @Nomad

      "The leaders of Mujahideen were compared to founding fathers by Ronald Reagan."

      And heralded by then Canadian PM Brian Mulroney, so jump out of your Ivory Tower; it is tan at best.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kularash

    Turban bomb??? Wonder if terrorist got an idea from the Danish cartoon???

    September 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • André

      Exactly my thoughts 🙂

      September 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fundies


    September 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pokey

    We won't be there much longer no matter who thinks we are helping or not. Our economy, and the public opinion, won't allow it to go on for too many more years. At this point, I would consider it a victory to leave tomorrow and look at the wasted budget we have spent here as a mistake that we got out of, after 10 years, finally.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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