Facade of stability shattered as Afghan VP assassinated

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 20:29:04 +0100

KABUL, Afghanistan –– Two gunmen firing assault rifles assassinated
Afghan Vice President Abdul Qadir as he was being driven from a
government ministry Saturday. His driver was also killed but the gunmen

The attack took place about 12:40 p.m. as Qadir was leaving by car from
the Ministry of Public Works, which he also headed, according to
Interior Minister Taj Mohammed Wardak. 

The gunmen, who had been hiding in the bushes, escaped in a car which
sped up moments after the shooting, police official Abdul Raouf Dad

After the bursts of gunfire, the Qadir's vehicle went out of control and
smashed into a brick wall. All 10 uniformed security guards who were on
duty at the ministry were arrested because they failed to react
properly, according to Kabul police chief Din Mohammed Jurat. 

Qadir was appointed one of three vice presidents during last month's
Afghan grand council, or loya jirga. He also served as governor of
eastern Nangarhar province and played a leading role in last year's
ouster of the Taliban. 

"Our family is in shock," said Qadir's younger brother, Nasarullah
Baryalai. "Our family has given so many sacrifices for Afghanistan. We
can't even think now who is behind this." 

Baryalai said Afghan President Hamid Karzai has already called to
express his sympathy and to promise a full investigation 

"He has assured us of a thorough investigation," he said. "We expect
that the real killers will be found and punished." 

Karzai, who went to the 400-bed Military Hospital where Qadir's body was
taken, also called an emergency meeting of his Cabinet. The interior
ministry moved quickly to set up checkpoints throughout the capital
searching vehicles for the killers who fled in a white car. 

The security of ministers and government facilities was among the
primary missions of the international peacekeeping force, sent to Kabul
last December when the first interim administration took office. 

The peacekeeping command refused to comment before it receives an
official statement from the government. 

"This is a terrorist attack," Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Samad
said. "But it won't stop us from making this country a safer place. The
killers have to be found." 

Qadir was the brother of legendary rebel commander Abdul Haq, who was
captured and hanged by the Taliban last year after slipping into the
country to organize resistance to the Islamic militia. 

"We have lost two brothers," said Qadir's younger brother. "Afghanistan
has lost two very important figures in just one year." 

Qadir was one of the Pashtuns appointed to the Cabinet of President
Hamid Karzai in an attempt to provide ethnic balance after complaints
from Pashtuns that they were being sidelined in favor of Tajiks from the
former northern alliance which fought the Taliban. 

During the 1980s Soviet invasion, Qadir was a key commander with
Hezb-e-Islami, an anti-Soviet faction led by conservative Islamic cleric
Yunus Khalis. 

It was the second Cabinet minister assassinated since the Taliban
collapsed last year. 

On Feb. 14, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Abdul Rahman was killed
at Kabul airport under mysterious circumstances. Rahman was initially
reported killed by a mob of Muslim pilgrims angered that they had been
unable to travel to Mecca. 

Later, Karzai blamed Rahman's killing on a conspiracy involving members
of his own police and intelligence services and said it sprang from a
personal vendetta. However, no one has ever been charged with the death
and some of those publicly named remain in power. 

Source:  Associated Press

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