Afghan President's Corrupt and Powerful Brother Assassinated

July 12, 2011 - 5:33 AM

Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai takes a question during a press conference at Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai's powerful half brother, a lightning rod for criticism of all that is wrong with the Afghan government, was assassinated by a bodyguard Tuesday at his home in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was head of the Kandahar provincial council, had become a political liability for the Karzai government after a series of allegations, including that he was on the CIA payroll and involved in drug trafficking. He denied the charges, and the president repeatedly defended him, denouncing accusations that his brother was involved in criminal activities in the restive south.

Ahmed Wali Karzai's death was confirmed by Zalmai Ayubi, the spokesman for Kandahar province, and Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. A member of Karzai's private security team killed him with an AK-47, according to a person who witnessed the killing. The individual declined to be identified.

Rangina Hamidi, a resident of Kandahar and daughter of the city's mayor, said Ahmed Wali Karzai is survived by five children -- two sons and three daughters. She says his youngest son was born about a month ago.

"It is his one-month-old child who is never going to see his father that I cry about," she said sobbing on the phone. "How many orphans and widows are we creating in this country?"

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.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his half brother's assassination reflects the suffering of all Afghan people.

Karzai said Tuesday in a press conference that Ahmed Wali Karzai's death is a pain he shares with all Afghans.

The president says "in the houses of the people of Afghanistan, each of us is suffering and our hope is, God willing, to remove this suffering from the people of Afghanistan and implement peace and stability."