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Ahmed Wali Karzai. (NPR)

Afghan President's Half-Brother Assassinated

Jul 12, 2011

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Reported by

Korva Coleman

The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated at home in Kandahar today. NPR's Quil Lawrence tells Morning Edition Karzai's guards are suspected because the assassin penetrated his tight security.

Quil adds Ahmed Wali Karzai was the subject of allegations that he was involved with opium production, or other criminal activity in Kandahar, where he served as head of the Kandahar provincial council. He also worked with the U.S. to control security for the province. Quil says Karzai had been a target for assassination, and was believed to be cutting off rivals to increase his control of the region, including the Taliban.

The AP reports the Taliban claims responsibility for Ahmed Wali Karzai's slaying. Assassins have tried to kill him before, including attacks on his motorcade and government offices. But Reuters suggests Karzai had so many enemies it's impossible to know at once who's responsible. President Hamid Karzai held a news conference, saying his brother was martyred - a misery that every Afghan family faces.

The New York Times (paywall) reported in October, 2009, that Ahmed Wali Karzai was paid by the CIA for at least eight years for several services, including putting together a paramilitary force to assist the U.S. agency in southern Afghanistan. The practice divided members of the Obama Administration who were reportedly reviewing the matter at the time.

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