Afghan peace deal negotiator survives assassination attempt

KABUL: A prominent women’s rights activist and member of the Afghan team, tasked with negotiating with the Taliban, sustained minor injuries in an attack in Kabul by unknown gunmen.
The Afghan officials have described the attack on Fawzia Koofi as an assassination attempt. Kabul’s chief peace negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said, “A vehicle carrying Fawzia Koofi was attacked by gunmen along a highway in Kabul’s Qarabagh district.”
However, Stanekzai said that she had sustained minor injuries. “Fawzia Koofi is in good condition and there is nothing to worry about.”
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although similar incidents in the past have been blamed on the Taliban. The attack was condemned by Afghanistan’s president as well as other senior politicians involved in the peace process.
Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation said, “I strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Ms. Fawzia Koofi and call upon the government to identify and apprehend the culprits and possible motive for the attack.”
Koofi is part of the government’s 21-member team that will lead talks with the militants. The incident came as the Afghan government and the Taliban prepare to launch long-delayed peace talks in Qatar.
The intra-Afghan talks could start as early as next week. The breakthrough came after President Ashraf Ghani said he would release 400 Taliban militants, the final part of a major prisoner swap.
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