On the campaign trail with AWK

Ahmed Wali Karzai makes a statement immediately after casting his vote at a polling booth in Kandahar City on August 20, 2009. Julius Cavendish second from right (Jonathan Saruk)

Ahmed Wali Karzai makes a statement immediately after casting his vote at a polling booth in Kandahar City on August 20, 2009. Julius Cavendish second from right (Jonathan Saruk)


Killing of Afghan President’s brother leaves power vacuum

The Independent

Politician was vital to Hamid Karzai’s fight against Taliban

Ahmed Wali Karzai, half-brother to the Afghan President and one of the country’s most powerful politicians, was assassinated by a bodyguard yesterday, leaving a power vacuum in a crucial province as foreign powers prepare to start withdrawing troops.

Mr Karzai was shot in the head and the chest as he met constituents at his home in Kandahar. Witnesses told The Independent that the assailant, a bodyguard and long-term family friend called Sardar Mohammad, interrupted a meeting between Mr Karzai and two other local politicians.

Waving a file and citing personal business, Mohammad asked to speak privately with his boss. Moments after they stepped next door, shots rang out. Guards shot Mohammad and rushed Mr Karzai to hospital but he was dead on arrival. Read the rest of this entry »


What the headlines tell us

There’s an ironic juxtaposition of AFP headlines this morning. First up is:

US-Afghanistan-unrest-Petraeus (10 Jul, 6:26 — 7)

Taliban summer attacks down on last year: Petraeus ATTENTION – ADDS Panetta visit KABUL, July 10, 2011 (AFP) – Insurgent attacks against foreign and Afghan forces in Afghanistan are down this summer, defying projections by intelligence analysts, General David Petraeus said. The top commander in Afghanistan said attacks were down by “a few percent” for May and June, the beginning of the traditional annual fighting season, although he said the number of homemade bomb explosions had risen.

That’s immediately followed by:

Afghanistan-unrest-kidnap (10 Jul, 6:43 — 5)

Seven deminers beheaded in Afghanistan HERAT, Afghanistan, July 10, 2011 (AFP) – Seven of 28 deminers kidnapped in the western Afghan province of Farah last week were beheaded by their abductors and their bodies recovered Sunday by police and tribal elders, police said. The mine clearing workers had been snatched on Wednesday in a district that is the focus of the Taliban insurgency in the province, but no one had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.