Karzai Family Squabbling Over Ill-Gotten Gains

Theft, kidnapping, and more involved in Afghan intrigue
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2012 9:34 AM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, attends the burial of his half brother Ahmed Wali Karzai in his family's ancestral village of Karz, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2011.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – It won't be long before Hamid Karzai's days as president of Afghanistan are finished—and his family members are scrambling to carve out and protect their slice of the family's fortune, the New York Times reports. Over the past decade, the Karzais have gotten rich off military contracts, foreign business deals, and, insiders say, corruption and narcotics trafficking. They've also developed a number of feuds, and are currently locked in a bitter struggle over Afghanistan's largest private residential development.

Karzai's brother, Shah Wali Karzai, took over the development, Aino Mena, after another brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was killed last year. In the past few months, he's raided the company of $55 million, transferring it to a new company he owns. His brother Mahmoud is demanding he return the money—but Shah Wali says Mahmoud was trying to move the money to secret accounts in Dubai. Not enough drama for you? There was recently an assassination plot targeting Mahmoud—though he says he refuses to believe Shah Wali was involved—and Shah Wali has reportedly imprisoned an aide to Ahmed Wali in an attempt to get him reveal where some of his brother's money was hidden. (Read more Hamid Karzai stories.)

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