Afghan President's Brother, Ahmed Kazai, Killed
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the powerful half-brother of the Afghan president, Hamid Kazai, has been killed by one of his security guards inside his own house in Kandahar, according to the local chief of border police.
"Ahmed Wali Karzai was killed at about 11.30am. He was killed by his bodyguard inside his house," said General Abdul Razaq. Razaq said an investigation into the assassination was under way.
A tribal elder in Kandahar province also confirmed the death of Ahmed Wali Karzai.
Karzai was seen as a keystone of security in the south and his assassination will raise fears about a potential power and security vacuum in the insurgent-ridden region.
Haji Padsha, an elder of the Alikozai tribe, said Ahmed Wali Karzai had been shot on his return from a meeting with foreigners at the former house of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the fugitive leader of the Afghan Taliban.
Karzai had come under criticism in the past from local Afghans for renting the property to international officials. It was reported in the New York Times in 2009 that he received rent from the CIA and American special operations forces for allowing them to occupy a large compound outside the city that is the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar. The Kandahar Strike Force, an militia run by the CIA, also shares the compound.
Ahmed Wali Karzai was a powerful figure in Afghan politics. He was said to be a key figure in the illegal Afghan opium trade and was also reported to be on the payroll of the CIA, both allegations he denied. He said international forces used these charges to deflect their own failings in Afghanistan.
Ahmed Wali Karzai was the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second biggest city, and had been the target of previous assassination attempts.
In 2009 four suicide bombers stormed the provincial council office in Kandahar, killing 13 people. Ahmed Wali Karzai claimed he was the target of the attack.
The government media and information centre in Kandahar sent out a message via Twitter confirming the death of Ahmed Wali Karzai.