Ex-Afghanistan president assassinated
Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in 2008
September 20th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Ex-Afghanistan president assassinated

An Afghan political figure considered vital to peace efforts in the country was assassinated Tuesday, officials said.

Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president who had been leading the Afghan peace council, died when a suicide bomber detonated inside his home in Kabul, said Mohammad Zahir, chief of investigations for Kabul police. The attacker wore a suicide vest, Zahir said.

Government officials told NATO's International Security Assistance Force that Rabbani was killed, and a top adviser of his, Masoom Stanekzai, is believed to be badly wounded, a senior ISAF official told CNN.

Rabbani was long considered crucial to Afghan and coalition efforts to bring Taliban leaders into the reconciliation process.

Arsala Rahmani, a member of the peace council, also confirmed to CNN that Rabbani was killed.

A doctor at a 400-bed hospital in Kabul said, "We have received three people from the blast at Rabbani's house. Among the injured are Masoom Stanekzai, one body guard and an assistant" to Rabbani.

The loud explosion heard in the attack on the home prompted temporary lockdowns at the nearby U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters as officials investigated the source of the blast.

Personnel at the U.S. Embassy were instructed to take cover late Tuesday afternoon due to an incident outside the embassy's perimeter, an embassy spokesman said.

"It appears at this time that the embassy was not the target of the incident," spokesman Gavin Sundwall said in a statement. "We are working to account for all embassy personnel and staff."

ISAF headquarters was on lockdown for about 30 minutes, an ISAF spokesman said.

People at the headquarters heard a couple of deep booms followed by sirens, the spokesman said.

Rabbani has been heading the United National Front Party, the largest political party that stands in opposition to President Hamid Karzai.

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