Afghanistan President’s Half Brother Assassinated by Bodyguard

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai was shot dead today by a trusted security guard. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Karzai, 48, was shot in the head, chest and hand, according to several news reports. Following the shooting he was driven by his entourage across town to Mirwais Hospital, but he did not survive.

“The killer served as a commander for one of the police posts outside of the city and was Karzai’s confident for years,” said Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesperson for Kandahar governor Tooryalai Wesa according to the Washington Post.

Sardar Mohammad, a longtime confident to Karzai had requested a private meeting, but used the request to get Karzai alone so that he could carry out the assassination.

Ahmed Wali Karzai's was wealthy and he is known to have accumulated power through family and tribal connections. His role as chief of the Kandahar provincial council, however, was largely consultative.

A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera News that they were behind the killing and had assigned Mohammad to carry it out a "long time" ago. However, Afghan analysts have said the Taliban often claims credit for acts it may not have organized.

In a quarterly report issued June 23 by the United Nations said that more than half of all assassinations across Afghanistan since March had been in Kandahar.

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