Gunmen kill tribal chief in Afghanistan
Haji Mursalen was killed in a mosque in eastern Kunar province.india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 16:30 IST
Unknown assailants shot dead an influential Afghan tribal chief who was helping to persuade members of the ousted Taliban regime to work with the new government, police said on Saturday.
Haji Mursalen was killed in a mosque in eastern Kunar province late on Friday, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar said.
"He was shot while praying. The enemies of Afghanistan were behind the killing," Ghafar said. Afghan officials often describe Taliban and other militants as "enemies".
Mursalen had played an important part in the nation's reconciliation and had persuaded dozens of Taliban in Kunar, a hotbed for insurgent violence, to lay down their arms, the police chief said.
The government initiated a reconciliation programme more than a year ago in a bid to quell a bloody Taliban-led insurgency.
The scheme allows an amnesty for members of the Taliban, which was in power from 1996 to 2001, and other Islamic militias "whose hands are not stained with innocent people's blood".
It has had some successes, with officials saying more than 1,200 former militants have signed up.