Half-Brother of Afghan President Karzai Assassinated (Updated)

Half-Brother of Afghan President Karzai Assassinated, Voice of America.

The half brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has assassinated at his home in southern Kandahar province. President Karzai told reporters in Kabul the murder of his younger brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, represents the suffering of all Afghan people.

Afghan officials say Wali Karzai was killed on Tuesday, likely by one of his bodyguards. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for his murder.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, condemned the assassination and said that NATO forces will support the Afghan government's efforts to bring justice to those responsible.

Wali Karzai served as the head of the provincial council and was one of the most powerful leaders in southern Afghanistan. The provincial council chief was often the target of corruption allegations. In November, a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks suggested that Wali Karzai was "widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker." The president's half-brother repeatedly denied the charges.

Wali Karzai survived at least two previous attempts on his life in recent years. In May 2009 insurgents attacked his motorcade, killing one of his bodyguards. He also escaped an earlier attack on his provincial council facilities in Kandahar.

More:

Half Brother of Afghan President Is Killed in Kandahar - NYT

Ahmed Wali Karzai, Brother of President, Killed by Trusted Guard - WP

Afghan President's Brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, Killed - BBC

Brother of Afghan President Karzai Killed by Bodyguard - G&M

Karzai's Brother Slain by Guard - SMH

Afghan President's Half Brother Killed in South - AP

Afghan Assassination - Time

'Big Headache for NATO' - DT

'Dangerous Power Vacuum in South' - AP

'Huge Propaganda Boost for Taliban' - DT

Who Killed Ahmed Wali Karzai? - FP

A Gangster's Death in Kandahar - DR

Why Ahmed Wali Karzai Was a Target - DB

Assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai: Careful What You Wish For - Time

Killing of Ahmed Karzai a Setback for US. Mission - WP

Ahmed Wali Karzai: Reactions and Analysis - WP

Factbox: Reaction to Death of Afghan President's Brother - Reuters

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Comments

In response to Peter J. Munson's question about Jan Mohammed Khan (JMK):

Based on my limited and possibly dated information about Uruzgan Province, Matiullah Khan, JMK's relative (son-in-law or nephew) is the real power in Uruzgan. Matiullah's private security company, the KAU (Uruzgan Security Battalion), has kept the Kandahar - Tarin Kot Highway open since at least 2007 and provides a major revenue source for Matiullah through the security contract and the toll charges.

I think the biggest impact of the JMK assassination is its presumed psychological effect on President Karzai. In the past week President Karzai has lost two important Popalzai elders in JMK and Ahmed Wali Karzai. He undoubtedly relied on both for situational awareness about the situation in Kandahar and Uruzgan Provinces, as well as updates on internal Popalzai politics. I would guess that their deaths are leaving President Karzai less confident about being on top on the situation in southern Afghanistan.

They are changing tactics?

Jan Mohammed Khan was killed in an attack at his home today. The BBC quotes a "senior official" as saying he was as important as AWK. He was governor in Uruzgan when I was there in 2004, but haven't tracked him since. Anyone have insight as to his importance and significant of 2 high profile assassinations in such a short span? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14179224

i wrote a comment saying may he rest in peace and the editors deleted it? really?

Couldn't it just be a PR move by the Taliban? Most people who hear about this aren't going to think that the Taliban killed a drug lord, they're going to think the Taliban killed the Afghanistan president's half-brother.

My previous experience in Afghanistan led me to understand that Ahmad Wali Karzai was a drug lord in Southern Afghanistan who exerted power through gangster type coersion. His position as Provincial Council Leader in Kandahar did not lend as much power formally as his informal power throughout southern Afghanistan. His informal power was gained through illegal and corrupt means. He may have not been partnered with the Taliban and may have helped security issues in the South but the means he used to gain that power was just as detrimental to long-term stability and trust within the legitimacy of the government. General Petraeus' condemning of the murder is appropriate but I seriously doubt the murder was committed by the Taliban and that it is a serious blow to our efforts in Afghanistan.

Condemning this event and bringing more attention to it gives the Taliban way too much credit. The guy was a pretty big destabilizer in the region, and I'm betting at KAF and CNS there were some pretty happy people on the ISAF side to see this guy get it.