The Taliban have refused to accept or deny responsibility for the assassination in Kabul of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, which has plunged the country into a deep political crisis.
On the first of three days of national mourning following the killing on Tuesday of Hamid Karzai’s chief peace negotiator, the Taliban’s spokesmen published a statement on their website refusing to discuss the incident and contesting an earlier report by the Reuters news agency that said the Taliban accepted responsibility.
The murder of Mullah Burhanuddin Rabbani is being portrayed in Afghanistan as a big blow to a peace process aimed at ending this decades-long war. The murky reality, however, is that most of what passes for reconciliation is a sham, and what “process” there is has so far largely been propaganda.
The former Afghan president’s death, however tragic and high profile, is in many ways a routine matter: part of a litany of tit-for-tat assassinations which have become this war’s hallmark.