Afghan official: Afghan president's brother killed

July 12, 2011 - 2:59 AM

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai's half brother, a lightning rod for criticism of all that is wrong with the Afghan government, was assassinated Tuesday at his home in southern Afghanistan, an official said.

The death of Ahmed Wali Karzai was confirmed by Zalmai Ayubi, the spokesman for Kandahar province, and Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was head of the Kandahar provincial council, had become a political liability for the Karzai government. But the president repeatedly defended him, denouncing accusations that his brother was involved in criminal activities in the restive south.

Ahmed Wali Karzai has been the reported target of multiple assassination attempts.

In May 2009, his motorcade was ambushed by insurgents firing rockets and machine guns in eastern Nangarhar province. One of his bodyguards was killed, but he was not harmed.

That attack came less than two months after four Taliban suicide bombers stormed Kandahar's provincial council office, killing 13 people in an assault that Ahmed Wali Karzai said was aimed at him. A Taliban spokesman said the attack targeted the general compound. The president's half brother had left the building a few minutes before that attack.