Taliban claims responsibility for death of Ahmed Wali Karzai, considered the ‘super governor’ of southern Afghanistan.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, half brother to the Afghan president and one of the most powerful men in the country, has been killed by one of his own bodyguards, according to a member of his security team.
Wali Karzai was shot dead on Tuesday morning inside his house by Sardar Mohammad, a bodyguard who regularly visited him, the man told Al Jazeera.
Mohammad shot Wali Karzai in the stomach and chest as he emerged from a bathroom and was then shot and killed by other bodyguards.
Hamid Karzai, the president, attended a scheduled press conference on Tuesday afternoon with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and confirmed his brother’s death.
“This is the life of the Afghan people,” he said.
A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera that they were behind the killing and had assigned Mohammad to carry it out a “long time” ago. But according to other reports, Mohammad was a longtime employee of the extended Karzai family and was close to Wali Karzai.
In response to Karzai’s killing, police mobilised a massive response in Kandahar city, according to Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins, who spoke to a resident.
Checkpoints were “locked down,” helicopters hovered overhead, and the road to the hospital, where Wali Karzai’s body was taken, was blocked off, Aikins wrote on Twitter.
‘Super governor’ of southern Afghanistan
Wali Karzai was the head of the Kandahar provincial council, but his power extended far further in Afghan business, politics and security. He has been described in various media reports as a “warlord” involved in drug smuggling and as a paid asset of the Central Intelligence Agency.