Ahmad Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan President, shot dead in Kandahar

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wali Karzai speaking to media in 2010
Image: ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office.

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has been shot dead in Kandahar. Wali Karzai was head of the Kandahar Provincial Council at the time of his assassination. The perpetrator was Sardar Mohammed, the head of security in charge of protecting Karzai. Mohammed was killed instantly after the assassination.

President Karzai released a statement after the killing of his brother. He said "This is the way of life for the people of Afghanistan. The homes of all Afghans feel this pain. Our hope is this (violence) will come to an end and peace and happiness come to our homes and will come to rule in our country."

The motive as to why Mohammed would have killed Karzai remain unclear, but the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the assassination. Local politician Khaled Pashtun said he was sceptical about the Taliban's involvement. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks and killings without evidence of their involvement.

Karzai had survived several assassination attempts before. He escaped uninjured after a fuel tanker filled with bombs exploded near a building where he was hosting a meeting in 2008, and again in 2009 when his convoy was attacked by machine guns and rocket attacks.

General David Petraeus, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said "President Karzai is working to create a stronger, more secure Afghanistan, and for such a tragic event to happen to someone within his own family is unfathomable." Another US offical told the BBC, "[Ahmad Wali Karzai] had his unsavoury side, but he was someone we could work with and he kept a lid on things in Kandahar."