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 VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid