Rabbani's killing raises many uncomfortable questions about the war
September 20th, 2011
04:20 PM ET

Rabbani's killing raises many uncomfortable questions about the war

By CNN's Nick Paton Walsh in Islamabad, Pakistan

Whatever peace process there was in Afghanistan, there is probably little left today.

The assassination Tuesday of Professor Burhanudin Rabbani in his home by at least one suicide bomber who hid a device in his turban hasn't just again reminded residents of Kabul that even the safest areas are vulnerable to insurgent attacks. It's surely made insurgents who have even the slightest whimsy to negotiate think again.

The war in Afghanistan is, by NATO's own admission, one of perception. And things aren't being perceived particularly well right now.  Just over a week ago, NATO's headquarters and the U.S. Embassy came under a sustained attack that some residents said seemed to need 20y hours to totally suppress.

And just back in July, the half-brother of President Hamid Karzai - Ahmed Wali Karzai - was killed, also in his home, by another man who was thought to be friend, not foe.  There are fewer reasons every day for Afghans to throw their weight behind the Americans, who are busy throwing their weight behind a timetable for departure.

"I think what you're seeing here is a deliberate attack by elements in the Taliban to make Kabul look unsafe, that the capital of Afghanistan is not a safe place, that no one is secure there, including the head of the peace council and a former president," said Bruce Riedel, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Rabbani's death is a pretty remarkable event in the progress of the war.  The first question is: who to blame?  The Taliban's usually smooth system for claiming responsibility for attacks (SMSes, e-mails), for many hours remained silent.  Their first utterance claimed responsibly but said they would need a little longer to reveal details - a departure for a group who've previously released the names of their attackers hours after they strike.
That dubiousness could point to the Haqqani network, the Pakistan-based, and some say Pakistan-backed, militants who have allegedly been behind many of the recent high-profile attacks in Kabul.  They're less flamboyant about taking responsibility for things. But silence doesn't itself help assign guilt.

The truth is that any of the myriad of factions in an insurgency splintered by nearly a decade of war could have wanted this to happen.  The word of peace talks was, in reality, more talk about talks as to whether there could be talks.  The big question also remained:  Would it really be possible, even if Mullah Omar's Quetta Shura wanted to strike a deal, to convince the younger fighters on the ground that such a deal was in their immediate benefit?

The Haqqani network, long seen as the brutal proxy of Pakistan's intelligence services, may have been fulfilling the old axiom that Pakistan doesn't want any peace it's not part of.  That's allegedly led to the arrest in Karachi of Mullah Baradar, a Taliban leader said to have been seeking peace with the Americans without the oversight of his Pakistani connections.

In life, many also point out, the role Rabbani played as a powerful Tajik at the head of the peace council may have kept many Pashtuns from beginning peace talks.  The role his death plays in mapping out Afghanistan's messy future will reveal itself in the coming months.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Haqqani • Kabul • Karzai • Pakistan • Taliban • Terrorism
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Anabolika

    Die besten wesentlichen Informationen ist dies, dass Sie versuchen, sehr gut zu tun, dass Obdachlosigkeit für nähern Körper und ihre helfende Hand. Ich bin so etwa, dass inspiriert, nach dem Lesen Ihres dieses nützliche geschriebene Artikel und Ihre Meinungen zu security.blogs.cnn.com auch die so attraktiv für etwas tun für diejenigen,

    December 12, 2011 at 2:45 am | Reply
  2. murali

    americans were happy wehn they killed OSAMA.But there is a bigger Terrorist called ISI which was controlling Al-quida

    ISI is a official and Legitimate Al-quida. funny thing is Americans were funding the tax payers money to the bigger Al-quida

    October 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  3. murali

    The first and the foremost thing. stop any technoloigy transfer to pakistan. even block internet / ISD telephone network for pakistan so that they dont communicate to other terrorits across the workd

    October 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  4. murali

    The best way to deal with pakistanis are the following steps
    1. Explode Electronic Bombs. Which was blased in IRaq to erase chips in all electronic components including missles, nuke bombs and aeroplans and other control systems. do it for 10 continous days until all the electronic infrastructre are destroyed
    2. Bumbard with all possible military installations and location
    3. destroy Submarines and pak navy same time
    4. Destroy all main roads with big boms so that the transport is blocked and pakists not able tomobalize military items items
    5. Bumbar all the foirest and mountains with napam bomnb to suckout oxygen and get all the terrorist military personal doing secrete strategy to die due to lack of oxygent
    you go to do all these in 15 days then thinks will be ok.

    after the war is won the first thing american might want to do is identyfy the DNA which weak to accept islamic terrorism, findout the brain area which is storing the Islamic terrorism. Give all pakistanins does of special medicine which erases the brain cells and makes them virus free pakistanins.

    October 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  5. murali

    it is too much to tolerate pakistan and allow its strategy. end of the day a man who was a exprisident killed like a street dog . what americans are waiting for . what the world is waiting for. we call unite and isolate pakistan.

    October 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  6. Kweg Yung

    Corporate America continues its expansion into China; where socialized healthcare and socialized education are the norm. Bush's “tax cuts for the rich” policy continues to help fund this transition. (When was the last time you saw a job created in the U.S.?) These former American companies only pay tax in China, supporting a growing communist government and military. The Republican party represents the rich corporations- and these corporations are moving to China. These guys aren't batting for us (U.S.) anymore. The writing is on the wall. Just open your eyes...

    September 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  7. mohamed sucks cocks in hell

    fuk pakistan...nuke that shithole nation of cocksucker raghead jihadi scumbags

    September 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • dea

      the united states do not have guts to attack Pakistan openly. All the americans can do are cowardly drone attacks...the US military has always demonstrated this cowardice...drone attacks, cruise missiles, bombs from afar...that is it! go ahead send ground troops inside pakistan now (and don't confuse that with sending 15 cowardly SEALs in the middle of the night and running away after half an hour...) send ground troops inside pakistan now (just like you claim) to attack haqqanis or any other "terrorists"...that will be the last act of the arrogant bully! sure you can destroy pakistan...just like you destroyed iraq, afghanistan, libya, lebanon, vietnam, korea, columbia to name a few, but this time your ass will be nuked too...first the american troops in the region and a follow up, in time, to the homeland...LIES LIES LIES...yea sure 3000 idiots from the haqqani group can cause such pain to the mighty 150,000 strong american contingent! LOL! wake up you fools...it was never about haqqanis, the US was never going to win in afghanistan!

      September 28, 2011 at 9:23 am | Reply
      • Steve

        so you think the us doesn't have 'control' of pakistans nukes? they might be able to fire them, maybe, but they sure won't go where they think they have them programmed to go – wormy, wormy, LOL

        September 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
      • Face Facts

        You sound like a nut. First of all, calling SEAL Team 6 cowards is completely absurd. As far as invading Pakistan goes, invading it would be stupid. Nuking it would make more sence. Let the troublemakers do the dying.

        September 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
      • bob

        Dea - I hear you were walking through an airport with your woman and see saw and an American Soldier and she knew she was with a pu$$y.

        September 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
      • Hank Kaehler

        Cowardly? You are just like the rest of pieces of shit. Print your name and address and we will see who the coward is. Hank. hankkaehler@yahoo.com

        October 1, 2011 at 11:19 am |
      • murali

        The best way to deal with pakistanis are the following steps
        1. Explode Electronic Bombs. Which was blased in IRaq to erase chips in all electronic components including missles, nuke bombs and aeroplans and other control systems. do it for 10 continous days until all the electronic infrastructre are destroyed
        2. Bumbard with all possible military installations and location
        3. destroy Submarines and pak navy same time
        4. Destroy all main roads with big boms so that the transport is blocked and pakists not able tomobalize military items items
        5. Bumbar all the foirest and mountains with napam bomnb to suckout oxygen and get all the terrorist military personal doing secrete strategy to die due to lack of oxygent
        you go to do all these in 15 days then thinks will be ok.

        after the war is won the first thing american might want to do is identyfy the DNA which weak to accept islamic terrorism, findout the brain area which is storing the Islamic terrorism. Give all pakistanins does of special medicine which erases the brain cells and makes them virus free pakistanins.

        October 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Sean

      Careful dea, Saddam once said the same thing. And where is he today?

      September 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • zack

      your the biggest most stupid racist i've ever seen in my life go to some blog where losers like you belong.

      October 1, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
  8. donnamarinchekmarn01

    What else is new?
    First they have Hitch Hikers Negotiations..With Iran(Wrong).Those Two are the same 2 that were here in a United States Prison,for killing their parents.And i am almost sure that the Girl,was involved with a Murder trial in Canada.
    Then they have,A Drug Lord,Negotiation...(Wrong Again),They let these go on....Long enough to Trigger a Turbin Bomb.
    And these Bombs are just being Triggered....By Ignorance,Within the System.
    And them you have a Peace Talkers Death,
    Please...I am Not a "Complete Idiot"

    September 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • Face Facts

      Please seek psychiatric help immediaty. That was the worst troll diatribe I have ever heard. Pure gibberish.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  9. brown

    The Chinese are providing the encouragement for Pakistan. China does not want the U.S. in this region.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:59 am | Reply
    • Aaron L.

      Well we responded by giving weapons to Tiawan. China knows not to mess with the U.S. we'll put a hurt on em. We aren't scared.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • dea

        the united states do not have guts to attack Pakistan openly. All the americans can do are cowardly drone attacks...the US military has always demonstrated this cowardice...drone attacks, cruise missiles, bombs from afar...that is it! go ahead send ground troops inside pakistan now (and don't confuse that with sending 15 cowardly SEALs in the middle of the night and running away after half an hour...) send ground troops inside pakistan (just like you claim) to attack haqqanis or any other "terrorists"...that will be the last act of the arrogant bully!

        September 28, 2011 at 9:11 am |
      • Face Facts

        Hey DEA, Drone attacks are clever, not cowardly. The people you support are a bunch of duplicitous cowards.

        September 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  10. Xavier

    Yes .. The root of all terrorist activities is in only one country on earth and that is PAKISTAN.. America is like a blind man with a gun shooting everything that moves .. Iraq, Afganistan, Libya, Palestine, Iran , N. Korea are all baby stuff.. the real enemy Pakistan is the parasite sitting on the American shoulder and poisoning, killing it and eating into american tax payers valuable dollars too ... Pest control at a high level needed to nuke Pakistan and put an end to all terrorism..Till now what fools Americans are turning out to be ...

    September 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Face Facts

      Amen!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  11. NoClue

    None of you, not even the journalist gathering information for this article, nor the editor who reviewed it, have any clue as to what is actually happening, or why. I'll give all of you just ONE hint. This is simply the exact same thing, feeding the hunger of the exact same beast, that has become the government itself. The government, is actually the men, women, sons and daughters, of the CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS of the globe. It's a worldwide disease, and it's been around way longer than anyone is intelligent enough to admit to their weak weak hearts.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • Fawad

      Well said!

      September 25, 2011 at 6:33 am | Reply
  12. metro

    24 countries came to afghanistan to remove the taliban but in facts the roots of all problems pakistan. Why are the 24 countreis are not trying to remove the roots of problem from pakistan. The factory of talib making is inside pakistan. If we do not fight with problems that we are facing, the problems will be created more problems.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      The "factory" may be IN Pakistan, but the "technology" is coming from Saudi Arabia thru their Wahabi madrass exportation industry.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
      • mohamed sucks cocks in hell

        fuk saudi...nuke the shithole, kill all them fukin raghead sons of bitches
        shit eating arabs...fuk pakis, stuff them in ovens

        here about paki got stuffed in a oven?
        his name was Amir Sinder!

        September 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  13. yo yo

    Afghanistan, America's second Viet-Nam. Well, at least so far we haven't lost as many troops so let's cut our loses, pack up and go home.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • Mi6

      Yes, let's go home just like we did when Russia invaded Afghanistan 30 years ago. What happened when we just left last time? Oh yeah, we left a void that the Taliban was only too eager to fill. What to you think will happen this time?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • i want to know

        what should we do? The united states spends so much money fighting in the middle east we could be using the billions of dollars spend there at home where we need them. and how can we help the nations without killing our economy and our men.

        September 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
      • Sean

        Agreed Mi6. So this time lets not leave anything standing. Or do you have a better suggestion?

        September 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  14. Maude

    Unless we change their skin color white and christinize all them, you people won't be satisfied. Leave them alone and bring the troops home. Worry about your own country falling apart at the seams for a change.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • Petrus

      There is one solution that everyone seems to overlook...

      NUKE 'EM!!!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Reply
      • Nobody N. Particular

        Too expensive, both financially and morally. You would just confirm the fears of the Muslim nations and probably be the catalyst to force them to band together against a preceived greater evil. This is what happens when you act without thinking, we are in this mess because it was more important to rush into things and look like we are doing something than to try to examine other methods of changing their views. As a matter of fact, there were several people who were trying to put on the breaks, but their concerns were cast aside as they were considered un-American.

        September 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • Face Facts

        Amen! And we should use our B83 bombs – "Crowd Pleasers" (1.2 Megatons each).

        September 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • melvinslizard

      No to the nukes, but I would start raining Hellfire missiles on every crowd that chanted "Death to America." Our reply? "Death from America."

      September 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • dea

        the united states do not have guts to attack Pakistan openly. All the americans can do are cowardly drone attacks...the US military has always demonstrated this cowardice...drone attacks, cruise missiles, bombs from afar...that is it! go ahead send ground troops inside pakistan now (and don't confuse that with sending 15 cowardly SEALs in the middle of the night and running away after half an hour...) send ground troops inside pakistan now (just like you claim) to attack haqqanis or any other "terrorists"...that will be the last act of the arrogant bully! sure you can destroy pakistan...just like you destroyed iraq, afghanistan, libya, lebanon, vietnam, korea, columbia to name a few, but this time your ass will be nuked too...first the american troops in the region and a follow up, in time, to the homeland...

        September 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  15. JACK

    The only way to win the war is to leave. China won! Russia is winning! The US is the battering ram for the Rothschild's Bankster Cartel and we are being sacrificed for the sake of a One world Government, that they cannot control because of countries like Afghanistan.

    I would not be surprised if a Rothschild Agent carried out this assassination because the very last thing any Reptilian Demon wants like the Rothschilds, Warburgs, Rockefeller, (The In Breeds) want is peace.

    Time to figure out who the real enemy is:Google "TIMELINE OF THE ROTHSCHILDS" and learn the truth about who these demonic rulers are and why it is they that need to be eliminated and not peaceful humans.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  16. General William Westmoreland

    Wait, wait. We were winning last week. Now we're not. Just wait till next week, we'll be winning again.............What, what, this isn't Vietnam???????????????..................................Sorry, disregard my all that. But at least we're winning hearts and minds..................sort of................well, maybe not....................so remind me, why are we there??? Isn't it to keep the Commies out???...............What do you mean we did that!!!!!!!................Now what are we doing???????????????????

    September 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • Jack Williams

      The consequenses of Vietnam were 3 million Cambodians, 2 million Vietnamese murdered, 3 million Vietnamese forced into small boats, 2 million Vietnamese thrown into concentration camps... and this was AFTER the fighting was over. We could and should have won in Vietnam. But the consequences of "losing" Afghanistan are potentially much worse. We will sooner or later receive a nuclear present from these crazies.

      Everyone should have learned from the Maginot line that you cannot sit behind fortrified borders and be secure. You must take the war to the enemy. My suggestion? ... is to FIGHT the war. Right now we have lawyers at the company level saying when to shoot. Hold the Pak generals who are organizing this personally accountable and fight this to win. The alternative is to submit.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Reply
    • General William Westmoreland

      With all due respect, JW, we haven't been about winning wars since WW 2. I'ts sort of like the war on drugs or nam the Mafia in that you never know who the "enemy" really is or where "they" are. When the guys you want to eliminate are so diffuse and integrated into the society it is literally impossible to make any "progress" without wiping out entire populations.

      You can win a conflict by two broad methods. Militarily or diplomatically. Since we're not about to use nukes our real options are limited to negotiations. Without any centralized authority negotiotions are impossible. The only pragmatic short term solution IMHO is to GTFO for now and continue to work covertly and overtly, keep stirring the pot and see what shows up.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  17. hates this war

    who cares....bring the troops home. let them fight their own war.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • E-DUB

      Please we are on the verge of a collapse of our own country the united states of america, please we need to just leave it is just utterly useless to keep throwing good money after bad,The afghans only want what we put in their hands, when we stop their"LOYALTY" stops believe me.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  18. asdf

    So let me get this straight we only win in Afghanistan when they have a functional fair society? Hahaha good luck with that. Another century of occupation might do the job but probably not.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  19. PYN17

    " ........may have been fulfilling the old axiom that Pakistan doesn't want any peace it's not part of. That's allegedly led to the arrest in Karachi of Mullah Baradar, a Taliban leader said to have been seeking peace with the Americans without the oversight of his Pakistani connections. "

    Mr. Walsh, you have not commented on the wisdom of American negotiators who were allegedly trying to talk to a Taliban leader hiding in another country without taking the government of that country into confidence.

    By the way, the current peace talks are no different. Now USA is trying to undercut Hamid Karzai by keeping him out of the loop.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      because we can't trust either of them!

      September 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply

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