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KARZAI’S AID JAN MOHAMMAD KHAN KILLED BY TALIBAN

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On Sunday 07/17/2011 night, less than a week after Afghan Presiden Hamid Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated in Kandahar (see – Karzai 07.12.11), another senior aid of the president Jan Mohammad Khan (pic) was killed in Kabul. A lawmaker Hasham Atanwal also died in the attack as gunmen stormed the house in the western protected Karti Char district of the city. A shoot-out with security forces in the area continued for some time afterwards, police said. Officials said at least two gunmen were involved in the attack (see also – U.N Sanctions 07.16.11 ).

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Defense Ministry official Gen Zahir Wardak said the attackers had been wearing suicide vests, the Associated Press reported. The Taliban on Monday claimed the overnight killing in Kabul (see also – Kabul-Int 06.28.11).

While a close ally of the president, Jan Mohammad Khan – a former governor of Uruzgan province – was also a controversial figure but so are all leading figures in Afghanistan from the President up to the last policeman in Kandahar.

Earlier on Sunday, NATO-ISAF began handing over control of Bamiyan province, west of Kabul, to the Afghan National Army – AMA. It is the first of seven areas to be passed to local forces under a plan announced by President Karzai in 03/2011. The handover is seen as a critical step in a transition of power before foreign troops end combat operations in 2014 (see – Petraeus W Plan).

Correspondents say that despite rising casualty numbers, security has improved in a number of areas of the country following a surge of extra American troops and tens of thousands of new Afghan police and soldiers. However the quality of Afghan police and soldiers is patchy and correspondents warn of fears that they will be unable to withstand a renewed summer offensive from the Taliban (see – spring 2011 offensive)..
Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan, is due to hand over command to his successor, Lt Gen John Allen today, Monday 07/18/2011.
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There are signs that the Taliban enhanced its capabilities to target senior officials of Hamid Karzai’s regime even in the most protected locations. It is most likely that the coming NATO-ISAF graduate withdrawal is pushing people in Afghanistan to reconsider their affiliations and loyalties. There was a similar situation in the Security Zone in South Lebanon prior to the Israeli withdrawal in 05/2000.
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