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By Joshua Partlow, Washington Post /
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The man who murdered President Hamid Karzai’s half brother spent years as an ally of the United States in the war against the Taliban.
The killer, Sardar Mohammad, a police commander, met on several occasions with U.S. and British military officials, shared intelligence with Americans and played a part in Afghan arrests of scores of Taliban fighters, according to three relatives interviewed on Thursday in his home near Kandahar.
The reasons behind the dramatic switch that turned the 35-year-old officer against Ahmed Wali Karzai, perhaps the most powerful figure in southern Afghanistan, are still not understood. But one of Karzai’s brothers and a senior Afghan official said they were now convinced that the Taliban somehow won Mohammad’s allegiance in recent months and convinced him to carry out an assassination on the group’s behalf.
The official said that investigators are trying to determine whether Mohammad was a long-term Taliban sleeper agent or just recently joined the insurgents. A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan referred questions about Karzai’s killing to Afghan authorities.
Mahmood Karzai, one of the president’s brothers, said the family has learned since the assassination that Mohammad traveled to the Pakistani city of Quetta within the past three months to meet with Taliban insurgents. He had also acted erratically in recent weeks, sleeping poorly, changing houses at night, acting suspiciously toward his men and demanding to know who they were talking to on their phones.
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