July 12 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai, speaking at a news conference with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, confirms the assassination of his half-brother Ahmad Wali Karzai. Nick Rowlands reports.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirms his half brother Ahmad Wali Karzai has been assassinated. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI: "As you are aware my younger brother was martyred in his house today. This is the life of all Afghan people, each and every family of Afghans has suffered like this." He was shot at his home in Kandahar by one of his senior bodyguards. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for persuading the bodyguard to turn on his employer, and security is tight around the hospital where Ahmad Wali's body was taken. He was head of the provincial council in Kandahar, and a critical power broker in troubled southern Afghanistan who helped maintain his brother's influence. The killing coincided with an unannounced visit to Afghanistan by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who offered his condolences to Hamid Karzai. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY: "I first want to renew my condolences for the tragic disappearance of your brother. This reminds everyone of the cruel destiny that the Afghan people face today." He went on to confirm that a quarter of French forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year, with the rest out in 2014. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.