Published on 13 Jul 2011 at 03:19
The assassination of President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, at the hands of his bodyguard on July 12, sent shock waves throughout Afghanistan. Sardar Mohammad, a long-time family associate, shot Ahmad Wali twice – once in the head and once in the chest.
The Taliban lost no time in claiming responsibility for the killing, saying it was a “major achievement” for the insurgency.
But some Members of Parliament from Kandahar expressed doubt that the Taliban were actually behind the murder. Instead, they point to tribal conflict as the reason for the shooting.
Shakiba Hashimi, an MP from Kandahar, thinks Ahmad Wali Karzai was killed as result of tribal conflict.
“Ahmad Wali Karzai was mistreating other tribes and his long-time bodyguard killed him,” she said. “Apart from his bodyguards and relatives, no one was allowed to enter his home. It was very tightly secured.”
But Haji Mohammad Omar Nangyalai, another MP from Kandahar, disagreed. He said that Ahmad Wali Karzai was a victim of the serialized terror being carried out by the enemies of Afghanistan to shatter the peace process.
“Ahmad Wali Karzai was was a prominent figure and strong supporter of the peace talks in the south,” said Nangyalai. “He was killed by the enemies of those talks.”
Ahmad Wali Karzai, 50, was the youngest half-brother of the Afghan president. He had been living in the United States before coming to Afghanistan in 2005 to enter politics. He stood for the 2005 Provincial Council elections and won, and headed that body from 2005 until his death on Tuesday.
The younger Karzai was a controversial power broker and a strong supporter of his brother, President Hamid Karzai. He guaranteed the president’s political success in Kandahar, serving as a bridge between tribal elders and the central government.
He was accused of widespread fraud in favor of his brother in the 2009 presidential elections. Western newspapers, some political parties and some MPs from Kandahar have also accused him of drug smuggling, corruption as well as the seizure of public properties. But Ahmad Wali, supported by his brother, dismissed these charges as “baseless allegations.”
Wali Karzai was known as a close friend of the United States in Afghanistan. In October 2008, the New York Times published a story claiming that he was on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Both Karzais denied the allegation.
For the full story in the New York Times, please click here.
In 2010, when the NATO-led coalition forces under the command of General Stanley McChrystal wanted to conduct clearing operations against the Taliban in Kandahar, Ahamd Wali Karzai was seen as an obstacle to those efforts. At that time, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Ahmad Wali Karzai was creating problems for the war on terror.
Gates reportedly asked President Karzai to limit his brother’s power in the south, but the president repeatedly defended his brother against any internal or international accusations.
MP Omar Nangyalai calls Karzai’s assassination a “great loss” for the Afghan government.
“Ahmad Wali Karzai’s assassination will have negative effects on the peace process,” he said. “He was a prominent power broker in the south and did a lot for peace and reconstruction.”
Shakiba Hashimi from Kandahar has a different view. She said that Wali Karzai’s murder will proved “beneficial” for stabilizing peace in the province.
According to Hashimi, Ahmad Wali Karzai was creating tribal conflicts in Kandahar.
“Any work including recruitment, construction projects, etc. that happened in Kandahar was ordered by Wali Karzai,” she said. “He was recruiting his own tribesmen into government positions and implementing construction projects with and for his own people.”
According to Hashimi, such actions have motivated people to join the Taliban.
“Those people will stop fighting and come back home now that he is dead,” she added.
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