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Afghan peace envoy killed in suicide blast

A suicide bombing has killed a senior peace envoy in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province, according to local police.

Mohammad Hashim Munib, the provincial head of the government-appointed High Peace Council, and his son were killed in the blast as they were returning home from Friday prayers, officials said.

Two people were wounded in the blast which also killed the bomber.

"He was on his way home from Friday prayers when he was attacked by a suicide attacker," provincial police chief Ewaz Mohammad Nazari told the AFP news agency.

One eyewitness said that both Munib and the attacker had been torn to pieces, with body parts littering the scene.

A doctor at Kunar Civil Hospital, speaking to Afghan media, said one of the two wounded brought to the hospital had succumbed to his injuries.

Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, a senior peace council official, paid tribute to Munib, saying he had been targeted by "enemies of peace", usually intended to mean the Taliban by Afghan government officials.

"He was an influential figure in Afghanistan and had drawn many insurgents to lay down arms and join the peace process," said Stanikzai.

Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president appointed head of the peace council by current President Hamid Karzai, was assassinated last year by a purported Taliban envoy who hid a bomb in his turban.

Munib was a former senior commander of Hezb-e-Islami, one of the so-called "mujahedeen": armed groups that fought Soviet troops in the 1980s.

The group, founded by former mujhaideen commander Gulbuddin Hekmetyar, is now seen as the second largest anti-government group in Afghanistan.

Munib left the group before Karzai took power and had never taken up arms against the current government.

Kunar, bordering neighbouring Pakistan, is considered a Taliban stronghold in the country's volatile east.


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