Blasts rip through Kandahar's province during funeral ceremony

Blasts rip through Kandahar's province during funeral ceremony. 44888.jpegTwo blasts went off Wednesday as the governor of Helmand province was headed to Kandahar to take part in the funeral for President Hamid Karzai's half-brother.

The remotely-detonated mine explosions in Kandahar's Maivand district wounded two soldiers but the Helmand governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, was unhurt, his office said.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar provincial council chief, was killed Tuesday by a guard during a gathering at his house a day earlier , says CNN International.

The head of the elected provincial council, Mr. Karzai wielded power far beyond that office, both because he was a half brother to the president, Hamid Karzai, and because he had amassed great wealth and power over business, security and administrative affairs in Kandahar Province and much of southern Afghanistan.

Every day his office was filled with petitioners, provincial officials, and tribal and family friends who came to seek his advice and support on business matters, political dealings and tribal disputes, reports New York Times.

At the Pentagon, some U.S. military officials muttered privately that Karzai's death could improve security and reduce corruption. Of everyone in southern Afghanistan, experts said, Karzai reaped the most from the status quo, deftly both charming and stoking fear throughout a region plagued by insurgents and drugs.

The death was a major blow to President Karzai himself, agreed Afghans, U.S. military officials and experts. The president relied heavily on him as a leader who maintained a complex series of relationships among businessmen, tribal leaders and politicians.

One of his greatest assets "was the fact that he was the brother of the president," said Khaled Pashtun, a member of the Afghan parliament who often clashed with Karzai, informs Sacramento Bee.


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