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Afghan President, Taliban Condemn Former Taliban Minister's Assassination

Mawlawi Abdul Raqib, a former minister for refugees in Afghanistan under the Taliban, in an undated photo
KABUL -- Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Taliban rivals have both condemned the recent assassination of a former Taliban leader in northwestern Pakistan.

In a written statement, Karzai said Mawlawi Abdul Raqib sacrificed his life for peace in Afghanistan.

The statement said Raqib "supported peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and had recently participated in peace talks" between Karzai's government and the Taliban.

Separately, the Taliban denounced the killing as a "cowardly" act, and vowed it would not undermine the militants' fight.

Raqib, an ethnic Uzbek from the northern Afghan province of Takhar, was buried in his native village on February 18.

He was a refugee-affairs minister during Taliban rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

Raqib had been operating a religious seminary in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.