KABUL - Afghanistan on Saturday appointed the son of the former slain peace envoy as the country’s new head of the High Peace Council to revive reconciliation efforts in the violence-wracked country.

Salahuddin Rabbani, son of the former head of the council Burhanuddin Rabbani who was assassinated last Sept, was appointed as the country’s new top peace envoy, a statement from the President’s office said.

“Salahuddin Rabbani was elected the head of High Peace Council by majority of high peace council members in a meeting today,” the statement said. “For the sake of national unity and to stop the foreign interferences Afghan president called his appointment useful,” it said.  The national head of the High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated last year by a purported Taliban envoy.

 who hid a bomb in his turban.

 Rabbani’s murder - Afghanistan’s most high-profile political killing since a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks - was a major setback to Karzai’s hopes of securing a deal with the militants. As well as trying to negotiate with insurgents, the High Peace Council tries to reconcile them with offers of money and jobs.

“More efforts for peace in the country is a step forward to reduce the need for foreign forces and will pave the way for foreign forces withdrawal”, Salahuddin Rabbani was quoted as saying.

Rabbani is currently Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkey.