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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs