Jul 18, 2011
On July 12 Ahmed Wali Karzai, the U.S.-sponsored strongman in southern Afghanistan, who ruled over a vastly corrupt fiefdom, was assassinated in his own home in Kandahar by a trusted aide.
Ahmed Wali Karzai had first been sent into southern Afghanistan, after the U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 and made his brother, Hamid Karzai, president of the country. Southern Afghanistan had been the base of support for the Taliban. After the Taliban was forced to flee, rival warlords fought for control over Kandahar, the second largest city in the country, and vied for support of the CIA and Pakistan secret service.
Ahmed Wali emerged from this fight as the most important power broker in that region. He cornered the business rackets that brought in huge sums of dollars in American military spending, including building bases and other construction projects, transporting military goods and speculating in property. The CIA also paid Ahmed Wali for a variety of services. He fingered people for the CIA’s assassination teams. He helped to recruit and run an Afghan paramilitary force called the Kandahar Strike Force, which carried out its own assassinations, not to speak of terrorizing the Afghan population as gun-toting thugs.
Ahmed Wali also profited greatly from the cultivation of poppies and the trafficking of drugs. He was even aided in this by U.S. poppy eradication efforts in the north and east of the country, which shifted most of this business to the south. Today, almost 90% of the world’s supply of opium comes from the southern region of Afghanistan that had been under Ahmed Wali’s thumb.
All U.S. officials could say after Ahmed Wali Karzai’s assassination was that he would be greatly missed. One American official lamented to the New York Times, his death would leave a “huge power vacuum.”
With Ahmed Wali Karzai gone, the door is now open to a fragmentation of power, as governors, tribal chiefs, other drug traffickers and hired contractors fight over the political and financial spoils and cut their own deals with the CIA and the U.S. military – with the population caught in the middle.
Just one more crime, in a whole series, committed by the U.S. against the people of Afghanistan.