US cable from Kabul impugned acts of Karzai`s powerful brother

As a "kingpin of Kandahar," the younger half brother of President Hamid Karzai is using his influence as the unrivalled strongman to manipulate state institutions and protect illicit businesses.

Last Updated: Dec 03, 2010, 15:23 PM IST

Washington: As a "kingpin of Kandahar,"
the younger half brother of President Hamid Karzai is using
his influence as the unrivalled strongman to manipulate state
institutions and protect illicit businesses, a secret
diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Kabul says.

Observing that the national legitimacy of the Afghan
President originates from the Kandahar province, the cable
highlights the corruption-ridden system in the country where
the US-led forces are fighting a raging Taliban insurgency.

US has been asking Hamid Karzai to check the massive
corruption in the administration, as it hurts the credibility
of the government and distances it from the people.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the President`s brother, virtually
dominates the political landscpae of Kandahar where he
operates parallel to formal government structures through a
network of political clans that use state institutions to
protect and enable licit and illicit enterprises.

"As the kingpin of Kandahar, the President`s younger
half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK) dominates access to
economic resources, patronage, and protection," says the US
cable originating from the Kabul embassy and released by
WikiLeaks.

"Much of the real business of running Kandahar takes
place out of public sight," it says.

As the kingpin of Kandahar, the President`s younger
half-brother rules over political deal and decision-making at
the provincial level and thereby dominates access to economic
resources, patronage and protection, the cable said.

"A dramatic example is the Arghandab river valley, an
agriculturally rich and heavily-populated district
strategically located at the northern gate to Kandahar city,
where the President`s direct intervention in the Alikozai
tribal succession increased Karzai political dominance over
two of the most valuable resources in Kandahar -- fertile land
and water," it said.

The United States, which has charged the WikiLeaks of
indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these
cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of
these documents.

"The overriding purpose that unifies his political
roles as Chairman of the Kandahar Provincial Council and as
the President`s personal representative to the South is the
enrichment, extension and perpetuation of the Karzai clan, and
along with it their branch of the Popalzai tribe.

"This applies equally to his entrepreneurial and his
alleged criminal activities," the cable says.

AWK derives authority and legitimacy from his
relationship to the President, from the relative discipline
and elite position of the Popalzai tribe and from his access
to resources.

"At its core, this clan network has a caste-like
division of labour," it said.

PTI