Afghan President Hamid Karzai buried his assassinated brother on Wednesday, then swiftly gave another brother a key role opened by the killing, in what could be a bid to stave off political infighting in the volatile south.
President Karzai wept and kissed the face of his dead brother Ahmad Wali Karzai, unofficially the most powerful man in southern province Kandahar, at a burial in their ancestral village attended by thousands of mourners.
Only hours after the body was lowered into the ground, the president appointed another brother, Shah Wali Karzai, as de facto leader of the Popalzai tribe to which the Karzai family belongs.
Calls for peace
Karzai renewed his call on the Taliban to make peace, even as he buried his brother whose assassination was claimed by the militia. “Even if the Taliban say they have killed my brother, I call on them, brothers, come make peace,” the president told a crowd of tribal elders and politicians in Kandahar after the funeral.
He said that despite the death of his brother, “we’re determined to make peace. Nothing will stop us from bringing peace and stability to this country.”
Karzai has been pushing to persuade the Taliban and other insurgents fighting against his government to reconcile in an internationally backed process. The Taliban, the main group behind an increasingly deadly insurgency in Afghanistan, have claimed responsibility for the killing and said that the assassin Sardar Mohammad was their associate.
However, other commentators have expressed doubt that the Taliban were behind the actions of Mohammad, who was the long-serving chief of the younger Karzai’s personal protection force.
The head of Pakistan’s spy agency headed for Washington for unscheduled talks, the military said, days after the U.S. suspended a third of military aid over deepening tensions in their relationship
Few details were available about Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s one-day trip, but it comes at a time when the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is under intense pressure to sever ties with militant groups including those it has long nurtured as assets in Afghanistan and India
Relations between the intelligence establishments of the two countries have been on a downward spiral since January after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis with joint operations against militants suspended soon after.