September 29, 2008
Taleban gunmen shot dead
Malalai Kakar, the head of the city of Kandahar's department for crimes against women, had been the subject of numerous media reports and was famous for her bravery throughout
A spokesman for the Taleban said that the assassination was carried out by its gunmen. “We killed Malalai Kakar,” said Yousuf Ahmadi. “She was our target, and we successfully eliminated our target.”
Her death came as reports emerged of a Saudi-brokered initiative to negotiate between the Afghan Government and the Taleban.
The reports, which are regarded as credible by Western diplomats, suggest that the initiative involves a senior former member of the Taleban leadership as a go-between.
One key objective of the initiative is reported to be a drive to separate the Taleban, an organisation whose objectives have historically been rooted in nationalist goals, from those of the global jihadists of al-Qaeda.
François Fillon, the French Prime Minister, appeared to allude to the initiative during a French parliamentary debate on
A spokesman for the British Embassy told The Times: “I am not aware of the initiative. Any support
Analysts in the Afghan capital were cautious about the prospects for such an initiative.
“I think that the reports the Taleban are getting say that the Karzai regime is on the verge of collapse and the Westerners can't last much longer. I would not hold my breath on the Taleban approaching talks with any sincerity,” said one analyst. “But talking is good and it is important to show a way out to Taleban who realise the costs and doubt their own propaganda.”
— The name “Taleban” derives from the Arabic word for “religious students”
— The group began as a Sunni Islamist movement
— They took control of
— They outlawed music, films and kite-flying, banned women from studying and working and forced all men to grow beards
— They were overthrown in 2001
— Since 2005 the movement has regrouped
— The original leader, Mullah Omar, is believed to be in
Source: Times database, www.infoplease.com
Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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