BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
Afghan killing raises awkward questions
Afghan policeman looks at minister's car
Haji Abdul Qadir was shot in the head


Afghan Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir had made so many enemies during his long career as a politician, military commander and businessman that it is difficult to pinpoint one motive for his assassination on Saturday.

The majority of top mujahideen commanders who fought the Soviet occupation troops in his native Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan during the 1980s have already been killed due to blood-feuds that continue till this day.

Those still alive need bodyguards for protection.

Haji Abdul Qadir
Qadir was the most powerful Pashtun after Hamid Karzai
One blood-feud that has claimed scores of lives, and posed danger to Qadir, was the mysterious assassination of his local rival Shomali Khan.

Another motive for his murder could be the rivalry between drugs barons.

Qadir was never able to convince his detractors that he was not involved in drugs-trafficking during his two terms as Governor of Nangarhar, the second biggest opium-producing province in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic sources said during the recent loya jirga in Kabul that the United States blocked Qadir's appointment as interior minister because of his reputation as a drugs baron.

President George W Bush has also referred to the possibility of drugs lords being responsible for his assassination.

Hierarchy rise

Qadir's association with the Northern Alliance, made up of armed groups claiming to represent non-Pashtun ethnic minorities, had angered his fellow Pashtuns.

It is possible that the mistrust created by the murders of Rahman and Qadir in Kabul will now haunt Karzai and his Northern Alliance allies

Elements within the faction-ridden Northern Alliance were also unhappy over Qadir's rise in Afghanistan's power-hierarchy.

Their impatience with Qadir was understandable because he never missed an opportunity to voice the aspirations of the Pashtun majority.

He even staged a boycott at the United Nations-sponsored Bonn conference last December to protest against what he said was the inadequate representation offered to the Pashtuns in the interim government.

The fact that he held three important offices - Vice-President, Governor of Nangarhar and Minister of Public Works - in Hamid Karzai's transitional government also annoyed his long-time rivals.

US supporter

The al-Qaeda movement and the Taleban had reasons to hate Qadir.

He had provided fighters and intelligence to the US during the Tora Bora military campaign against Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda last winter.

Afghan police in Kabul
The killing has added to insecurity in Kabul

He also delivered captured Arabs to the American military authorities.

He was a steadfast supporter of the US in the war on terrorism and was involved in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taleban members in eastern Afghanistan.

If al-Qaeda or the Taleban were indeed responsible for Qadir's assassination, it raises disturbing questions about their ability to strike in Kabul in the presence of the 5,000-member strong International Security Assistance Force.

The Afghan Government's inability to apprehend and punish the killers of civil aviation minister Dr Abdul Rahman last February seems to have emboldened those keen on settling old scores and keeping Afghanistan destabilised.

Qadir's murder has deprived Hamid Karzai of a strong Pashtun ally and raised doubts about the cohesiveness of his fledgling transitional government.

Stung by Qadir's assassination, Pashtun tribal leaders and opinion-makers have renewed their demand for making the government ethnically balanced by reducing the monopoly of Tajiks in the cabinet.

The murder of the second minister in Kabul in five months raises questions about the safety of other ministers in Kabul, particularly the royalists and those lacking military muscle who are not aligned to the Northern Alliance.

It is possible that the mistrust created by the murders of Rahman and Qadir in Kabul will now haunt Karzai and his Northern Alliance allies and make unanimous decision-making more difficult.


Rebuilding

Political uncertainty

Profiles

Issues

FACT FILE

IN DEPTH

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Nov 01 | South Asia
20 Feb 02 | South Asia
08 Apr 02 | South Asia
22 Jan 02 | South Asia
01 Jul 02 | Country profiles
06 Jul 02 | South Asia
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes