Afghan Prime Minister’s Brother Assassinated

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NPR: Officials say a bodyguard has killed the powerful half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Ahmed Wali Karzai had been a lightning rod for criticism of all that is wrong with the Afghan government. Officials say he was assassinated today at his home in the southern province of Kandahar. He was head of the Kandahar provincial council and had become a political liability for the Hamid Karzai government after a series of allegations. They included involvement in drug trafficking and that he was on the CIA payroll. MORE

GLOBE AND MAIL: Be’s the coalition’s best asset or its worst liability. Either way, Ahmed Wali Karzai, half-brother to the President, chair of the provincial council and the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan, will profoundly shape this summer’s battle for Kandahar, the defining moment of the eight-year-long war. For years, critics have accused “the King of Kandahar” of corruption, alleging he is associated with a network of drug smugglers and militia commanders who have thwarted NATO’s efforts to defeat the Taliban in its spiritual home. By his own estimation, he receives one or two hundred people every day at his guesthouse, ranging from representatives of the insurgency to commoners seeking advice. Deteriorating security in Kandahar City has him worried. The spiralling violence has begun to feel personal. “Me and my family are in danger. They are killing my friends and they are killing my bodyguards,” Mr. Karzai said. MORE

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