News / Asia

Afghan President's Half-Brother Assassinated

Ahmad Wali Karzai, half-brother of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 14, 2010 (file photo)
Ahmad Wali Karzai, half-brother of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 14, 2010 (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • VOA's Phil Ittner in Kabul on the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a powerful political figure in his own right, has been killed in his home in  Kandahar, apparently by his own bodyguard.

The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, who served as the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, a region of Afghanistan significant both as the birthplace of the Taliban and the focus of the recent "surge" of U.S. troops in the country.

A clearly shaken Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed the death of his brother during a press conference with visiting French President Nikolas Sarkozy.

"My younger brother was martyred in his house today," the Afghan president said. "This is the life of all Afghan people. I hope these miseries which every Afghan family faces will one day end."

Ahmad Wali Karzai

  • Born in the southern Afghani city of Karz in 1961.
  • Member of the Kandahar Provincial Council, the local governing body for the region, since 2005. Served as council's chief.
  • Openly accused in the Afghan parliament in 2007 of being involved in the international drug trade.
  • Suspected of orchestrating voter fraud in his brother's favor near
    Kandahar during the 2009 presidential election.

(Photo credit: Reuters)

Ahmad Wali Karzai was a controversial figure on the Afghan political scene. Considered the most powerful man in Kandahar, he had been accused of criminality, corruption and drug running. But he was also a broker for stability in the strategically important area. He consistently rallied the tribes to show support for the central government in Kabul. His death will leave a vacuum at a time when NATO and Afghan government forces are trying to regain the initiative in the 10-year-old war.

The outgoing commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, conveyed his personal condolences to President Karzai and swiftly issued a condemnation of the killing. He said that the international forces would assist the government in bringing to justice those involved in the murder.

While the Taliban has issued a claim of responsibility for the killing of Ahmad Wali Karzai, there is no clear proof it orchestrated the murder. It has, in the past, capitalized on events not of its own making.

Listen to analysis by VOA Senior Correspondent Gary Thomas

All sides in the conflict are trying to show strength as the apparent endgame in the war gains momentum. Both NATO forces and Taliban leaders want to enter peace negotiations from a position of strength.

The assassination sends the message that the Taliban is still very much a force to be reckoned with, says Afghan member of parliament Daud Sultanzoi.

"This is a show of power. And they show how far they can reach. How deep they can penetrate. And this means that we have to reckon with that and be prepared for worse things. Every time they do something like this, it’s not just the action itself but it’s the message that is sent through those actions that is more important," he said.

Reports that Ahmad Wali Karzai's killer was a member of the Karzai inner circle also show that security is far from guaranteed in Afghanistan, regardless of how much effort and expense is devoted to achieving it.

Police and military forces are on high alert in Kandahar, with extra roadblocks and checkpoints in place to try and capture any other individuals who may have had a role in the assassination.

President Karzai’s office says he is traveling to the city to collect his brother's body and initiate a full investigation.

Related video by Laurel Bowman:

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs