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Ahmed Wali Karzai, the younger brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai and a hugely powerful if controversial figure in southern Afghanistan, was assassinated at his home on Tuesday, officials said.
The killing of his chief local powerbroker will be a huge loss for President Hamid Karzai in Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban insurgency as NATO troops rush to start withdrawing combat troops after a decade of war.
Initial details were sketchy, with a family friend telling AFP on condition of anonymity that he was killed by a bodyguard while entertaining guests at home and an Afghan intelligence official saying he was shot dead by a guest.
"We can confirm he has been martyred," Kandahar provincial government spokesman Zalmay Ayubi told AFP, providing no further details.
A health official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said Wali Karzai had been shot dead.
"He was shot dead at his house by one of the visiting guests not by a body guard, at around 11:30 am (0700 GMT)," said an official at Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security.
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