Only Thing Clear in Karzai Kin Slaying: It's a Mess
Ahmad Wali Karzai's death will likely set off a bloody power struggle
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2011 1:00 PM CDT
Ahmad Wali Karzai, half brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – So what does the killing of Hamid Karzai's powerful half-brother in southern Afghanistan mean for the war effort? Such is the contradiction of Ahmad Wali Karzai that the only answer seems to be "stay tuned":

  • Mark Thompson, Time: The killing of the "godfather of Kandahar" is horrible timing for the US military, which needs stability from the Karzai clan to shore up fragile gains. "Or— if you buy into the notion that Wali Karzai was a corrupt warlord whose presence reduced the chance for progress in southern Afghanistan—his death could turn out to be a bloody blessing. No one knows yet."
  • Max Fisher, Atlantic: He personifies the US entanglement in the war itself. "The things that make men like Ahmed Wali useful in the particular also make them burdensome in general. His power (is) inextricably linked with his corruption ... He was part of a system that fueled the war, and he helped us navigate that system while simultaneously worsening it."

  • Reuters: The killing will likely set off a bloody power struggle to fill the leadership vacuum in Kandahar. "Regardless of whether they had a hand in the killing, the Taliban are likely to benefit from his death ."
  • New York Times: The killing is bad news for Hamid Karzai, "who depended on his half brother’s unchallenged influence in southern Afghanistan to maintain the Karzai family’s nexus of connections to power brokers across the region, including tribal leaders, elected officials, narcotics smugglers and insurgents."