Karzai Attends Brother's Funeral
Afghan President Hamid Karzai attended the burial of his half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai in his family's ancestral village of Karz, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Thousands gathered in to mourn the death of Ahmed Karzai, who was assassinated in his home by his bodyguard.
The president, joined by tribal leaders and government officials, attended a prayer service on Wednesday morning in Kandahar before traveling to the village of Karz for the burial. The weeping president climbed into the grave to kiss his brother's forehead before appealing to Taliban militants to stop their violent uprising.
Thousands thronged amid outside the Kandahar governor's compound, where Ahmed Wali's body was kept. Security forces formed a perimeter around the compound and helicopters circled overhead. Attacks proceeded and followed the funeral.
According to reports, Gulab Mangal, the Governor of Helmand province, escaped an explosion near his car on the way to the funeral. Two further explosions were heard in Kandahar city shortly after the funeral, reported Reuters news agency.
The younger Karzai was the government's key power-broker in southern Afghanistan, and his death deprives NATO of a pivotal ally in Kandahar, which is the heartland of the Taliban. However, he was persistently dogged by allegations of much illicit behaviour - from drug trafficking to large-scale corruption.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination, which now raises questions about possible infiltration among those closest to the Karzai family. Tuesday's killing was the latest and most high-profile in a series of assassinations of senior politicians and security commanders across the country.
Hamid Karzai commented on the violence surrounding his brother's death in Paris on Tuesday:
"This is the life of the people of Afghanistan. Afghan families, every one of us, have suffered from it, and we hope, God willing, for our suffering to be over"