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Afghan President, Taliban Condemn Former Minister's Assassination


Mawlawi Abdul Raqib.
KABUL-- Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Taliban rivals have both condemned the recent assassination of a former Taliban leader in northwestern Pakistan.

In a written statement, Karzai said Mawlawi Abdul Raqib sacrificed his life for peace in Afghanistan.

The February 18 statement said Raqib "supported peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and had recently participated in peace talks" between Karzai's government and the Taliban.

Separately, the Taliban denounced the killing as a "cowardly" act, and vowed it will not undermine the militants' fight.

Raqib, an ethnic Uzbek from the northern Afghan province of Takhar, was buried in his native village on February 18. An Afghan government delegation accompanied his corpse in an army helicopter.

He was a refugee affairs minister during Taliban rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

Raqib had been operating a religious seminary in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

With reporting by Radio Free Afghanistan.
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