The assassin of the Afghan president's half-brother asked him to take a look at a file, and as Ahmad Wali Karzai scanned it the trusted bodyguard gunned him down, it was reported in Washington.
Ahmad Wali Karzai was killed at his home in Kandahar on Tuesday while he was holding court. The killer was promptly shot dead and his body was strung up at the cross-roads of the central market.
On Tuesday morning, the New York Times reported that Karzai sat for half an hour with a former legislator and then a provincial councillor sought five minutes of his time.
A few minutes later, an old man requested a hearing and Karzai moved into another room with him.
It was then that a commander, Sardar Muhammad, 40, asked to see Karzai alone.
He was carrying a file and wanted Karzai to look at the information, said Haji Sayed Jan, a close colleague of Karzai.
Sardar Muhammad was so trusted by the Karzai family that he would pick up and carry Karzai's young son into the family quarters. In fact, he had been awarded a plot of land in an upscale area and also commanded about 100 men.
He also came from the same Populzai tribe.
"There was no argument between Sardar Muhammad and Ahmed Wali," Jan was quoted as saying.
Jan said that the assassin opened fire as soon as they went inside the room.
"He came deliberately to kill him. He gave him a file and told him he should look at it, and as he was looking he took out his pistol and shot him."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, a relative of Muhammad said: "I would not connect it with the Taliban."
"He was very much liked and loved by Ahmed Wali. It is very difficult to say why he did it."
The New York Times quoted witnesses as saying that the security guards rushed into the room and shot dead Sardar Muhammad even as he fired off a third bullet.
Karzai was shot twice in the head and once in the hand.
Bodyguards of Karzai were furious and some were moved to tears.
Some of them dragged the assailant's body out of the building and strung him up at the crossroads of the central bazaar, said an intelligence official.