July 12th, 2011
02:25 PM ET

What's next for Afghan stability after Ahmed Wali Karzai's death?

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was shot and killed Tuesday, gunned down by a bodyguard in Kandahar. The Taliban say the shooter was on their payroll.

CNN Sr. International Correspondent Nic Robertson weighs in on the relationship between the brothers, how much is known about him and how important he was to the United States and Afghanistan. The following is an edited transcript:

Q: How important was Ahmed Wali Karzai to the United States and to Afghanistan?

Robertson: He was hugely important to his brother, President Hamid Karzai, because really, he was his eyes and ears, his political fixer in the south of the country. So really, for President Karzai, he was a very important stabilizing and controlling figure in the south of Afghanistan, in the Kandahar region.

Certainly, there had been a lot of rumors about him, rumors that he was involved in the drug trade, rumors that he has built military forces that have helped on CIA-led operations inside Afghanistan, and he has certainly never been able to disquiet those rumors. And they have been around now for a number of years. But this is a man who it's very hard to find people in Kandahar who will say a bad word against him.

When I was there asking government officials about him just before Christmas last year, no one would say a bad word about him, which to me, at the time, felt very much like an indication that he was the real strongman in Kandahar. And really, that's the person that he was. Whether or not he was amassing illegal wealth, whether or not he was fixing sort of cronyism-type political deals, he was a real power broker there.

Q: What does that mean for Hamid Karzai, the president?

Robertson: Well, it puts him on a much weaker footing.

I think one of the things that we're going to see happening over the next couple years in Afghanistan - as all parties there realize that U.S. forces, NATO forces are going to draw down - we are going to see Afghans reverting to the sort of conflict that they were having before we got involved there, fighting for control of resources, of different interests within the country, and this could just be part of that bigger picture.

We have seen the police chief in Kandahar killed this year, for example, and Hamid Karzai's brother would certainly fit that picture as being somebody that many people want to get rid of in Afghanistan.

Q: Isn't that worrisome, though, when you've got American troops that are going to be pulling out of Afghanistan. What does this say about the Afghan people's ability to even protect themselves?

Robertson: The situation with him removed is certainly, in the short term, at least, and probably in the medium term, is a destabilized one in Kandahar. With him gone, that will leave the way open for other people to try and sort of flex their muscles, be it political, be it military. And they will try to do that in an environment where there are U.S. troops, where there are NATO troops, and those forces could bear the brunt of that instability.

He was a guy that coalition forces would rely on to sort of be involved in fixing deals. With him gone, those deals aren't going to get fixed, so you're going to have those failed deals spilling out into blood feuds, into fights on the streets, or whatever. It's going to be less stable.

Filed under: Kandahar • Karzai
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Dindy

    May God shelter the families who lost their loved ones and May all of us find wisdom from God to come out from this complicated situation !! In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Amen!!

    July 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pamiri

    As human being , it is not to kill someone, but Wali Karzai is killing is not clear yet, who has hand behind this , but for sure we can say the direct risk goes to Karzai because Wali Karzai was the mane , who controlled the Kandahar as Karzai wanted , but the question is this, do the Kandahar people were happy from him and Karzai or not? What acheivments Wali Karzai had in Kandahar for the security and etc???
    We think he was good for Karzai and for some poppy drug dealer not for all people of Afghanistan, on one hand he was getting money from usa and on the other hand by the other ways he were giving the money to Taliban , which this actoin was compeletly against the counter terrorist policy. The american people and other countries pay taxes for their governement and their governments spend those money in Afghanistan to eliminate Taliban Aqaeda , but if their money go to the pockets of Taliban then many question raises , aren't ????????

    The situation in Kandahar would get better, if you stop dealing, and instead setup effective measures against Taliban and Aqaeda there!!

    some time you do not compare who is Taliban and who is not, not just in Kandahar but also in Kabul government, we have some ministers lobbying for Taliban, even in Presidential palace , then how you can beleive such figures,

    from Kabul

    July 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Pamiri – you are talking non-sense. If the Taliban did receive money from the victim, they would not have killed him.
      On the other side not just the Taliban, but even Afghans non-Taliban are against US occupation and Northern alliance.

      July 13, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
      • pamiri

        not just he but also Hamid Karzai has paid for Taliban in on or the other ways and also he is a tie holding Taliban , and there was not the case of Taliban to kill wali Karzai , he killing happened because of some sort of family private problems according to the people, and Wali Karzai was not kill for the defending from the country, he was a big poppy dealer then , this fate was waiting for him. non Taliban are against occupying not agaisnt helping and getting support from the usa and we are with usa against Pakistan and Taliban their slaves in Afghanistan, we say welcome for usa to cut the money on Pakistan then Pakistan would not able to support Alqaeda Taliban izbe Islami or other extrimists group in PK and AFG, it is the critical time for Pakistan,

        from Kabul

        from Kabul

        July 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Pamiri – you don't need to writ 2 times "from Kabul". One is enough, even if we think you are in Las Vegas.

        July 14, 2011 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
      • +

        and we picture you in a dingy basement littered with junk n Cleveland in dirty underwear.

        July 15, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        I am not a prophet, so you can do it without the fear for any fatwa.

        July 15, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan from Chicago, IL

    iI believe that if Islam is so pure and peaceful like many Muslims believe that they would look at this killing and all the killings, torture and maiming of people throughout history and realize how ugly they are in God's eyes!

    July 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan from Chicago, IL

      Do they murder in the name of Jesus as the radical Muslims do in the name of Allah?

      July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      It is irrelevant if you kill in the name of God or not. Many muslims sre not religious and kill for other motivations. If you are a religious everything you do is done in the name of God.

      July 13, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      The fight in the name of God is a fight for self-defense, like tha afghan peope are doing right now in their country. On the other side USA is moving wars for power invading other countries. They want ro rule foreign countries through puppet governments.

      July 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan from Chicago, IL

      YEA RIGHT! Why then does the Afghan people join the ANA to fight the Taliban and their terrorist allies? And for your belief of the United states setting up puppet governments where has this been done? The only wars that the United States are or were involved in was to bring freedom, liberty and democracy to! Not for any control of the countries involved!

      July 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Dan – Just small part of the Afghan people joint the ANA and some of them often kill the american soldiers as well, like in the case of the 2 killed saturday.
      Mubaraq was democratic ?
      Saddam was democratic ?
      Saudi monarchy is a democracy ?
      Iraq is a free country with functioning democracy ?
      Iranian revolution was not the only way to overcome the evil US supported dictatorshiop ?

      July 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan from Chicago, IL

      You are simply ignorant! Mubaraq and Egypt was controlled by a military dictatorship, Saddam was a dictator and how can you call a monarchy democracy? Also with the religious mullahs in Iran killing innocent protesters they are the evil ones! And for your information the reason the US supported Mubaraq was because of their peace with Israel. SO AS YOU ARE SO SUBJECTIVE IN YOUR THINKING THAT MUSLIM RADICALS ARE IN THE RIGHT TO KILL OTHERS YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT THE UNITED STATES STANDS FOR PEACE AND NOT CONTROL OVER PEOPLE LIKE MANY MUSLIM STATES!

      July 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Dan – USA supported all those dictatorships: Mubaraq, Saddam, Saudi monarchy, Iranian Shah Palevi.
      Where is the freedom ? Even Assad, who is supported by the Christians and by the Bishop Ignatius IV, received weapons and military training by the USA.

      July 14, 2011 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan from Chicago, IL

      Show me a Christian that supports Assad and your a fool if you think the United States ever sent weapons to Syria or trained their military! And as i SAID Mubaraq made peace with Israel and peace with a neighbor should always be supported. As for our support for Saddam it was because of our common enemy with Iran. Also Saudi Arabia has always tried to be friendly with the US and the Shah always was friendly with the US! SO JUST SHUT UP AND STOP YOUR STUPID LIES ABOUT AMERICA AND OUR INTENTIONS!

      July 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno


      July 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |