Assasination of Karzai's Brother A Strategic Blow to Coalition

Wali Karzai was either a mobster, a source of stability, or both. His death leaves a gaping hole in the strategic Kandahar region.

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Aryeh Ben Hayim, | updated: 22:19

Wali Karzai
Wali Karzai

It was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who once said "he may be an SOB, but he is our SOB." 

Today the United States lost one of it's important SOB's in Afghanistan when President Hamid Karzai's half brother Wali Karzai was assassinated by his own bodyguard, who was in turn gunned down by other members of the security team. As the assassin was not taken alive, it was impossible to confirm the Taliban's claim of responsibility.

If the claim is true the Taliban has pulled off another spectacular coup, such as the prison breakouts and the bombing of the Kabul Hilton. It would be another illustration of the guerrilla movement's ability to strike at the Afghan regime's highest personages and in the most secured places.

The timing was also grisly in that it came just hours before Ppresident Karzai held a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarzoky, who was announcing a withdrawal of 1000 French troops while visiting Afghanistan.

The Americans put up with Walil Karzai because he was considered a source of stability and controlled many elements in the South in the way an underworld boss exercised control of his area. Critics of the war's handling claims that such a figure was proof positive that the Afghan regime could not be viewed as a reliable ally

Karzai's assassination complicates President Barack Obama's withdrawal timetable for 33,000 American troops. Obama's decision was opposed by Pentagon's top brass because they feel they need the full complement of troops in the volatile region to achieve security.

The assassinated Wali Karzaipresence and influence was expected to compensate for the departure of the troops. It is doubtful that Obama will go back to the drawing board as he has staked his reputation on the withdrawal.