CIA links add to riddle over killing of ‘King of Kandahar’

Miles Amoore reports:

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of the Afghan president, lived under constant fear of assassination. His death last week was the latest of 10 attempts to kill him.

“The seventh bomb to target me was so big that hundreds of cats fed on human flesh for days afterwards,” he told me last July.

The man who finally killed Karzai was someone he trusted with his life. Not only was Sardar Mohammed a close confidant, but he also worked as an informant for the CIA, according to relatives, Karzai’s friends and the Afghan intelligence agency.

Mohammed, who shot dead Karzai, 49, at his home on Tuesday, ran a network of spies who passed information to the CIA, according to Mohammed’s brothers-in-law, two of whom work for the CIA.

Karzai, known as the “King of Kandahar” for the iron fist with which he ruled the southern province, was himself working for the CIA, according to his brother Mahmoud.

Karzai, likened to the gangster Al Capone by US officials for his alleged links to the drug trade, helped the US spy agency run a clandestine paramilitary unit called the Kandahar Strike Force. The CIA uses the unit to conduct covert counterterrorism operations in the city. Some members of the strike force are in prison in Kabul for shooting dead Kandahar’s police chief in 2009. Critics say that Karzai used the militia to kill off his rivals.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports:

A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai was killed on Sunday night after two gunmen stormed his walled home here. It was the second killing in less than a week of one of the president’s trusted but controversial political allies.

The aide who was killed on Sunday, Jan Mohammed Khan, served as governor of Oruzgan Province until 2006, when he was removed at insistence of Dutch officials over concerns that he was linked to drug rings. Since then, he had been a regular presence at the presidential palace.

He was killed alongside Mohammed Hasham Watanwal, a member of Parliament from Oruzgan.

The killing was another potentially heavy blow for Mr. Karzai, whose powerful half brother Ahmed Wali Karzai was assassinated on Tuesday by a close associate in southern Afghanistan. It also heightened concerns that militants were trying weaken the president’s standing and unravel the tenuous security gains in the still-violent south after months of intensified fighting by NATO and Afghan forces.

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1 thought on “CIA links add to riddle over killing of ‘King of Kandahar’

  1. Dieter Heymann

    “Jan”? That is the Dutch name for John hence I suspect that “Jan” spied for the Dutch until he became a liability in 2006.

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