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Karzai Adviser Is Killed at Kabul Home

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Jul 18, 2011.


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    Karzai Adviser Is Killed at Kabul Home

    A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai was killed 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.

    In response to the attack, Afghan police officers, soldiers and intelligence officers swarmed Mr. Khan's neighborhood in western Kabul, where government officials and businessmen live behind high walls and steel gates, protected by many men with many guns.

    Government security forces killed one of the gunmen. The other appeared to be perched on a second-floor staircase inside Mr. Khan's compound, squeezing off a few shots whenever security forces closed in.

    More than three hours after the attack began at 8:30 p.m., sporadic shots still rang through the dark streets, and police officials said they had not managed to reach the remaining gunman.

    "We are trying our best," said Gen. Mohammed Zahir, an Afghan police official. One Afghan police officer was killed in the fighting.
    A spokesman for the NATO-led military coalition said that Afghan officials had not requested any help in the firefight, but he added that some coalition advisers were at the scene to offer guidance.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, told Reuters that Mr. Khan was killed because he was helping "the Americans and committing atrocities against the Afghan people."

    Mr. Khan was imprisoned during the Taliban's rule and was seen as an eager and bitter foe of the insurgents. He worked with the NATO-led coalition during his time as governor, but was dogged by accusations of corruption and the failure to provide basic public services.

    Oruzgan Province is just north of Kandahar, the Taliban heartland, where Ahmed Wali Karzai had been a polarizing but powerful leader. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for killing Mr. Karzai, but the motives of his assassin, who was killed at the scene, remain unclear.

    The killings occurred less than a month after a team of suicide bombers stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing at least a dozen people and fighting off the Afghan security forces for hours. The siege did not end until NATO helicopters swooped in and gunned down three insurgents on the hotel's roof.

    Kabul is one of seven areas of the country making a formal transition to Afghan-led security in July, a largely symbolic but closely watched milestone that has fanned fears of increased violence.

    On Sunday, a coterie of politicians and security officials held a ceremony in the relatively peaceful province of Bamian to mark the transition there.