May 14 - Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, a former Taliban minister and top peace negotiator was shot dead by gunmen in the capital Kabul. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Hundreds of Afghans attended the funeral ceremony on Monday (May 14) of a top peace negotiator who was shot dead by gunmen in the capital Kabul a day earlier. Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, a 68-year-old former Taliban minister, was one of the most senior members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which was set up by President Hamid Karzai two years ago to open negotiations with insurgents. His death dealt a fresh blow to the country's attempts to negotiate a deal with Taliban insurgents, security sources had said. Mourners walked in a funeral procession led by a military honour guard and prayed over his body before finally putting it to rest in his grave. His son attended the funeral. The Taliban has denied involvement in the killing, but one mourner said there were signs foreign intelligence was involved. Rahmani, a frail man from Paktika province, with a wispy black beard and thick glasses, was on his way to meet lawmakers and other officials in a government-run media center in the heavily barricaded diplomatic centre of Kabul when he was shot. The 70-member High Peace Council appears to have made little progress in negotiating with the Taliban to end a war now in its 11th year.