07/14/2011, 00.00
AFGHANISTAN
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Kandahar: five killed in two bomb attacks during memorial service for Karzai’s brother

In one attack, the bomber, a child and an important religious leader are killed. The blasts follow Tuesday’s murder of President Karzai’s brother. Sources tell AsiaNews that Ahmad Wali Karzai was not very liked because of allegations of opium trafficking and dealings with the Taliban.
Kandahar (AsiaNews) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of Kandahar’s Red Mosque where a memorial service was underway for Ahmad Wali Karzai, half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was killed on Tuesday. Another explosion later hit the centre of Kandahar. The two bombs killed five people, including the suicide bomber, a child, and Hikmatullah Hikmat, head of the Provincial Ulema Council. A number of people were also wounded.

Officials say the attacker was stopped by guards at the mosque's entrance, where he blew himself up. Prominent members of the Karzai family were attending the service, but not the president who had already flown back to Kabul over night.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the mosque attack, which is connected however to Ahmad Karzai’s assassination at his home by the head of his security.

The Taliban said the attack was one of their top achievements in 10 years of war. However many doubt they were able to carry out the murder. Khaled Pashtun, a politician from Kandahar, said that the Taliban have habit of claiming responsibility for acts they do not carry out.

Sources told AsiaNews that the president’s half-brother was not very popular and had been the target of previous assassination attempts, the latest in 2009.

“For locals, he was corrupt, a mobster involved in the opium trade, accused several times of double dealing with the Taliban.”

Other members of the Karzai clan, which hails from Kandahar, are also unpopular. “People don’t like them, especially after the collapse of the Kabul Bank, which was partly owned by Mahmoud Karzai, another of the president’s brothers. He is accused of siphoning off US$ 925 million to buy real estate in Dubai.” (S.C.)
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