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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More