07-12-2011, 05:49 AM
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Afghanistan President's Half-brother Assassinated (12 July 2011)
The half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been killed in an assassination attempt, officials say.
Ahmad Wali Karzai, the younger half-brother of the Afghan president and leader of the Kandahar Provincial Council, was shot dead, presidential spokesmen Waheed Omar told the BBC.
Initial reports suggest he was shot by his bodyguard in his house in Kandahar.
A controversial politician, some saw him as a defender of Pashtun rights.
Critics said he was a warlord mired in corruption who was openly involved in the drugs trade and had a personal militia at his disposal.
The president repeatedly had defended him, denouncing accusations that his brother was involved in criminal activities.
Previous assassination attempts
Following Tuesday morning's shooting, the body of Ahmad Wali Karzai, who was born in 1961, was taken to a nearby hospital.
He was a staunch ally of US and allied forces in Afghanistan, says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul, to the extent that they turned a blind eye to accusations he was involved in drug trafficking.
It is hard to overstate how important he was in the south of Afghanistan and in Nato's efforts to combat the Taliban in their stronghold there, adds our correspondent.
International forces in Afghanistan have expressed shock at the killing. There has been no word yet from the Afghan president himself.
Ahmad Wali Karzai had survived attempts on his life before, most recently in a rocket and machine gun attack in 2009 as his convoy was travelling towards Kabul.
The previous year, he was chairing a meeting in a government building when a bomb-filled fuel tanker exploded close by.
Although Mr Karzai escaped unhurt, six people were killed and 40 wounded in the blast.
He and other officials blamed Taliban militants for the bombing.
In 2003, Mr Karzai's house in Kandahar city was hit by an explosion which he said was caused accidentally when some weapons were being moved.
Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14118884