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. Bill

    Now the Taliban and the extremists are desperate. They violate one of the tenants and pillars of the Muslim Faith by going INTO A MAN'S HOME AT NIGHT WHILE INVITED AND BLOWING HIM UP.

    That is about as heinous a crime against the Koran and Allah as it gets for anyone who's ever studied that scripture. That would be the equivalent of a Catholic killing another while sitting in a confessional at Church. If they are desperate enough to violate the tenants of their own religion, then there is no stopping them.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveinCincy

      ....I would say there's no negotiating with them We can most certainly stop them. They're cowards...otherwise they'd put on a uniform and come out of the shadows.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    Time to get out of places where we had no business to be in the first place.
    And at what cost?
    We have to learn to learn from our follies & history. That is the way to sustaining our greatness.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveinCincy

      ....I disagree. They harbored the coward Osama knowing his role in the 9/11 attacks. If they handed him over, the US would not have gone to war. However...countries who harbor people who plot to kill Americans and our interests are guilty and should be invaded. The only thing we shouldn't be doing is rebuilding for them. We also should claim the cost of the invasion from their perpetrators economy.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Prevention is better than Cure my friend. Hunt the killers in their home , don't let them hunt you in your home.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jon Dough

    Does anyone remember Maxwell Smart; he would have foiled this.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cmkc

    Turbans, hijab, Burqua, Shemagh – safety will soon dictate that on our soil, we need to not be so politically correct.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John McKenna

    Now what does Palestine and Israel have to do with this mayhem?

    September 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    @ Bill

    Rightly said. I had the opportunity to study the book translated & explained by that great Christian scholar Leslie Hazelton & I agree.
    If you travel around you would find that majority of muslims detest these thugs and do not consider them representing Islam.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DaveinCincy

    Peace stands no chance for people who can't see past hate and oppression.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jimmie

    muslims do not want or understand democracy. This is why there are no muslim countries that have democracy. They NEED a hard firm hand (like Saleh in Yemen) to keep them from killing each other.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JustaGuy

    The Talibombs obviously have a blatant disregard for life, especially their own. Now if we could only get them all to strap on a bomb and push the button all at once, problem solved!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kularash

    I think I have seen the turban bomber somewhere.. Thinking................. yeah in the Jyllands-Posten cartoons...

    September 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ringo

    You sure this wasn't DICK Cheney?

    September 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. oyvavoy

    Never underestimate the enemy. The afghan defeated the Greeks, Persians, British and Soviets.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      first recognize the enemy, Afghans are not the enemy. Taliban backed by Pakistan are the enemy.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lucid Citizen

    The religion of peace strikes again.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eazy

    Stocks rally up

    September 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mohammed Pictures for Sale Cheap!

    He looks like the guy Mikey at the beginning of Men In Black.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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