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Karzai's half-brother killed

A brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been shot and killed.

Reports from Kandahar say Ahmad Wali Karzai was meeting relatives and guests at his home in the city on Tuesday morning, when his guard, who was among the visitors, killed him.

The guard was shot dead on the spot.

The Taliban issued a statement to claim responsibility for the killing. The Afghan Interior Ministry says an investigation is underway.

President Karzai mourned his younger brother's death at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He said his brother was murdered in his home and such is the life of Afghanistan's people. He added that the people of Afghanistan are suffering and their hope is to remove this suffering to implement peace and stability.

Ahmad Wali Karzai was regarded as one of the most powerful men in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban forces are active. His death deals a heavy blow to President Karzai at a time when the United States is preparing to begin a troop withdrawal this month and other allies are making similar moves.

Ahmad Wali Karzai served as the head of the Kandahar Provincial Council and was also a coordinator for US military operations against insurgents in the region.
He had survived several previous assassination attempts. He was accused of being involved in drug trafficking and of having links with the CIA payroll.
He denied the allegations.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 02:19 +0900 (JST)