In the morning the President was in a discussion with the visiting French President in Kabul when he heard the news of his brother's death Needless to say that he was shocked and grief stricken on hearing the unexpected tragedy. After a while regaining the composure he told Mr Sarkozy ".As you know, today, my younger brother Ahmed Wali Karzai was martyred at his home. This is the way of life for the people of Afghanistan". He continued "The homes of all Afghan people feel the pain. Our hope is this violence will come to end and peace and happiness come to our homes and will come to rule in our country." Those were words uttered in genuine anguish shared by many in Afghanistan.
When Hamid Karzai became President, his brother, Wali Karzai, remained in his home land, Kandahar where he was born and brought up. He gave and gathered support for the President. Gradually his presence was felt among the people there. He was elected to the Kandahar Provincial council in 2005 which gave him more power to exert his influenze not only in Kandahar but the entire Southern Afghanistan and. like an expert percussionist his fingers traveled over all affairs of the Province which included Tribal issues, Taliban insurgency, helping American intelligence, NATO contracts and even family councilling for the Tribesmen.
Although he was an ally of American intelligence they did not trust him completely. They thought he had shady dealings. He was one of the 10 richest men in Afghan before he died. How he made that kind of money in such a short time gave room for suspicion. There were complaints of nepotism in distributing Government aid to the Tribesmen, showing preference to his own Pashtun Tribe which in turn gave him a lot of enemies as well as friends. He held supply contracts for the NATO presence there. There were talk of him making millions dubiously in the contract business. NATO spent nearly 15 Billion Dollars on contracts alone for services like transportation, food etc. On top of those complaints he was suspected to have had connexions with the opium lobby also.
Despite his short comings, the U.S.intelligence decided to ally with him on the common aim of sending the Taliban out of the South in which success was almost attained. Besides, none of the complaints against Ahmed Wali were substantially proved.
As Wali Karzai himself said laughingly, the complaints were like ghosts, everybody talked about them but no one could show proof of its existence.
The southern part of Afghanistan is a strategically important part. The Taliban clan's birth place itself was in Kandahar, what once called the 'Gandhara Desom ' in the 'Mahabharata' epic. In the absence of Ahmed Wali, a power vacuum would be created there which is going to make things difficult for NATO troops and for the American intelligence especially now the troops withdrawal stands declared.
One would love Ahmed Wali for his ruthlessness and alertness. He had an ear to the Kandahar ground and nothing passed off without his knowledge which made him such a formidable opponent for the Taliban people, prompting them to run away from the Kandahar region. To help kill Taliban leaders he would call them via satellite telephone which would identify their location so that troops can bomb the region and kill the lot. Many leaders of Taliban were killed with the help of Wali.and he was such a bold and ruthless person.
When asked his secret for the success he said " I know how to talk to the people. I know how to deal with thise tribes I know what their needs are and I know how to address their needs. This is the skill I have learned."
Before his Avtar as a power broker he was in the U.S where he managed an "Afghan Cafe". He was not as much educated as Hamid Karzai.but Wali had the intelligence to plan strategies and the street smartness to execute them ruthlessly.
It appears strange for his personality that he had no foreknowledge of his killer, identified as Sardar Mohammad, who had provided security to Wali Karzai and his family. The reason for such a cold-blooded murder is not known. Perhaps he too was an agent of Taliban as claimed by them. He had been targeted before also with a suicide bomber. In a country like Afghanistan, with his meteoric rise and ruthless nature, some people thought that death was round the corner for him.
Ahmed Wali's reception hall was never empty as he had people visiting always for one thing or other. On that fateful Tuesday,July 12th Wali was talking with some Councillors and tribesmen where the murderer, Muhammad, was also present. Some time later Muhammad requested Wali to come to the next room allegedly to see and sign some papers. Wali was always ready to favor such small requests of his people which endeared him among them. He accompanied him to another room where while he was examining the papers Muhammad fired two bullets, point blank to his head and chest. He was killed on the spot. His body guards arrived hearing the sound of gunfire and they killed the murderer there and then and the dead body was exhibited in the market to vent their anger and grief.
And there ended the sad story of an exotic power broker in Afghanistan.
Image courtsey: Wikipedia