Four killed in blast during Karzai’s memorial service in Afghanistan
14 Jul, 2011 15:17
Four people have been killed and up to 13 wounded as a suicide bomber blew himself up during a memorial service for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s murdered half brother.
The Sarra Jamai mosque was filled with relatives and friends offering condolences to the family of the slain provincial council leader.No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion yet.The blast comes one day after the funeral of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the political strongman of southern Afghanistan, who was killed on Tuesday at his home by a close associate of the Karzai family.The assassination has already been considered a political victory for the Taliban, Julien Mercille, a Lecturer in Geopolitics at University College Dublin told RT.“The Taliban, some people say, they claimed the assassination others say that is not the Taliban, but they are just exploiting the fact that he has been killed. I mean if it is the Taliban or if it is not them. The perception of Afghans will be that the current government, and NATO and the US are not really able to maintain order and security, and safety in their country. In that way, at least in the short term, it is certainly a political victory for insurgents and the Taliban in particular,” Mercille said.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, nicknamed the “King of Kandahar” and elected to the Kandahar Provincial Council in 2005, was accused of being deeply involved in the drug trade. However, Julien Mercille believes this murder will not affect the situation with drug trafficking. “He is suspected by many people lets put it that way to be the controller of the drug trafficking [in the] south of Afghanistan. So now when he is gone, one possibility that many other players will try to control the traffic and that could lead to more violence, for example, like in Mexico. Or it could just stay like that,” he says. According to Mercille there is a huge demand for drugs in Europe and until demand for drugs – heroin in particular – disappears, Afghanistan will continue to produce drugs. Ahmed Wali Karzai was also believed to be an important ally for both Afghanistan government and for the US and NATO. With the killing of Wali Karzai, the United States has lost an important negotiator with the Taliban, thinks journalist and historian Doug Valentine.”He was actually very politically important to the US and the CIA as somebody who could represent their interests in negotiations with the Taliban,” he said. “He was considered a very, very tough negotiator for the United States. He was someone who represented US policies rather than Afghan policies and so this is a very big coup for the Taliban. They will not have to deal with his hard line for a while.”
Independent journalist and author Jere Van Dyk thinks that the assassination leaves Washington without anyone to rely on when it comes to securing the region.”Wali Karzai was not just the governor or the shadow governor of Kandahar. He was the most powerful and the most popular person throughout all of southern Afghanistan,” he said. “This shows that right now, with the Canadian troops pulling out and with the US trying to now focus on eastern Afghanistan, feeling that they have controlled the south, there is now a vacuum. Who is in power? Who can the West rely upon? No one.”
The assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai took place amid the US’s intention to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, claiming they are leaving a stable country behind. And Dr. Habib Hakim, a political analyst, thinks that though the half-brother of Hamid Karzai was an influential figure, his death will not negatively affect the US military strategy.“I think in general his assassination will not have a negative effect on American strategy, on American struggle against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but of course they will face some problems because they lost one of their important men in this area. At the same time, he was an influential political personality in the south of Afghanistan,” Hakim said.