The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabani will have minimal impact on Afghanistan's peace process. What it will do is weaken President Hamid Karzai’s administration through the alienation of Afghanistan’s influential Tajik minority.
Rabbani, who was killed by a suicide bomber September 20, held the post of the government’s chief peace negotiator. But his more important role was that of Tajik power broker.
Afghan Tajiks, who formed the core of a fighting force known as the Northern Alliance, were bitter enemies of the Taliban during the 1990s. And many Tajiks remain hostile to the mainly Pashtun Taliban to this day. But Rabbani’s involvement meant that other Tajik leaders were constrained in their ability to criticize the peace process.
With Rabbani’s death, former Northern Alliance leaders could well reject the peace process, as well as distance themselves from cooperation with Karzai’s government.
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