Pakistan OKs assassination investigators: Afghans

Kabul has demanded that Afghans be allowed to travel to Pakistan to investigate Burhanuddin Rabbani`s assassination.

Kabul: Pakistani officials have agreed to let an Afghan commission investigating the assassination of a former president travel to Pakistan as part of their inquiry, Afghan officials said Monday.

Afghanistan has insisted that the September suicide attack that killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, which all but derailed a peace initiative which he was leading, was masterminded in Pakistan.

Kabul has demanded that the commission be allowed to travel to Pakistan to fully investigate. But commission members until now had been unable to get the necessary permissions and visas.

"Pakistan has now agreed to accept the delegation. They are going today or tomorrow morning," presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters in Kabul. He declined to comment on whom the group — which includes representatives from a number of government ministries — would be meeting with or where they would go.

Rabbani was killed when a man posing as a Taliban envoy seeking peace talks detonated a bomb that had been hidden in his turban as he greeted the former Afghan president.

The death of Rabbani, who had headed a peace council charged with finding a way to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, reverberated throughout the country and led many to suggest that attempts at peace talks were now dead.

The killing also strained already tense relations with Pakistan. Afghan officials were quick to point a finger at their neighbor, where Taliban and other insurgent leaders have found a safe haven, and in particular at the Pakistani government`s intelligence agency.

Pakistan has previously rejected allegations that its intelligence service was involved in the plot. Pakistani officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

Faizi said that Pakistan agreed to let the delegation visit after a series of intense discussions at an international conference held in Istanbul earlier this month to address Afghanistan`s future.

Also Monday, NATO announced that one of its service members was killed the day before in a bomb attack in the south. The alliance did not provide further details.

The death raises the number of international troops killed so far this month to 20, and at least 510 so far this year.

Bureau Report

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