The killing of Arsala Rahmani, former minister in the Taliban regime, in Kabul earlier today aims at weakening President Hamid Karzai just when he was getting the upper hand on the Afghan chessboard with the signing of the strategic pact with United States and began emerging as the lead figure in any peace process. It is the most serious blow to Karzai after the elimination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Rahmani was even more ‘valuable’ than Rabbani, as he was one of the Taliban. He knew Taliban’s mentality, how they worked, how they could be engaged. He knew their weaknesses and strengths. Karzai consulted him closely. Arguably, Karzai and Rahmani were kindred souls, both having been Taliban officials. Rahmani is virtually irreplaceable. The tone of the ISAF statement betrays the sense of loss for the US
military command as well.
The brazen way in which the US is forcing the pace on the establishment of military bases in Afghanistan and creating a fait accompli — and Karzai’s collaboration or acquiesence with it — is bound to be challenged by the Taliban and such a contestation would even have the tacit support of some regional powers. Besides, the US and Karzai are working overtime to split the Taliban movement — and seem to be making some headway already, creating confusion within the Quetta Shura
— and in this risky enterprise, Rahmani would have played a key role.
Obviously, Taliban struck back. But equally, Rahmani’s killing coincides with the steady easing of the chill in US-Pakistan ties. The consultations of the US commander John Allen with Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Kayani in Rawalpindi seem to have gone well
and the sides are tackling the reopening of the transit routes for NATO convoys via Pakistan. The upswing in the US-Pakistan equations at any point would be a matter of disquiet for Karzai
, and Rahmani’s murder today adds to it.
Posted in Politics.
– May 13, 2012