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Thousands Attend Afghan Vice President's Funeral - 2002-07-07

In Kabul, Afghanistan, thousands of people have attended the funeral of slain Afghan Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir. After a brief ceremony, his body was flown to his hometown, Jalalabad, for burial.

Security was tight around the capital's main mosque for the slain Afghan leader's funeral service. Interim President Hamid Karzai and other members of his government attended the ceremony.

Vice President and Public Works Minister Haji Abdul Qadir was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen Saturday as he drove away from his office in central Kabul. His driver was also killed in the daylight attack.

According to witnesses, the gunmen escaped by taxi. Afghan authorities have yet to determine the motive behind the assassination. They have not named any suspects, but police have arrested 10 guards at the ministry of works. There is speculation that Mr. Qadir's killers are linked to the ousted Taleban regime.

President Karzai has called the attack a terrorist act and created a five-member commission to investigate the case. He has also declared that Tuesday will be a national day of mourning.

U.S. President George W. Bush has condemned the assassination. The U.S. leader says his national security team is in touch with the Afghan leader following the incident.

Mr. Qadir was one of the country's powerful warlords and the second minister to be murdered this year. Afghan tourism minister Abdul Rehman was killed in February at the airport in Kabul.

Vice President Qadir like other Afghan warlords, had made many enemies over the years as he strengthened his position as a leading businessman, tribal elder of the majority Pashtun ethnic group, and politician. He also served as governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar.

Mr. Qadir's brother, prominent anti-Soviet commander Abdul Haq, was executed by the Taleban shortly after the United States launched air attacks in October to punish the Taleban for sheltering terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.