Ahmed Wali Karzai, the man known to some as “AWK,” is dead.
Lots to know about the man, and lots of early speculation about the implications of his killing for U.S. efforts to pacify southern Afghanistan.
Herewith is a roundup of background information and react:
- A great backgrounder by The Post’s Joshua Partlow on Karzai and how he wielded control in Kandahar. Also a good explanation of why AWK, who had long-standing with the CIA, was “regarded by some U.S. intelligence officials as indispensable.”
- This appears to be one of the most recent — and perhaps the most recent — profiles of AWK, written by Matthieu Aikins, over at Harper’s. Aikins reported that pro-government figures had been campaigning to have AWK appointed the governor of Kandahar shortly before he was killed.
- Reaction to the killing from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
- You can hear Alissa Rubin of the New York Times and Christine Fair of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University discussing the implications of Karzai’s killing at The Takeaway. Said Fair: “He had a pretty influential network in Kandahar that we were relying upon. And there was a sort of a tacit tradeoff between his very likely involvement in narcotics trafficking in preference to his ability to bring some level of stability and consistency to what the Americans were trying to do in the south.”
- Lots of speculation that the power vacuum in Kandahar will be filled by Abdul Razziq, an Afghan strongman who was fiercely loyal to AWK. From a Post profile of Razziq last year: “U.S. officials say Razziq, who is illiterate and just 32, presides over a vast corruption network that skims customs duties, facilitates drug trafficking and smuggles other contraband. But he also has managed to achieve a degree of security here that has eluded U.S. troops elsewhere in the country.”
- Feeling lazy and just want to watch a short film about AWK and militias in Kandahar? Here you go. Fast forward about six minutes in and you’ll find footage of AWK and an anonymous senior prosecutor describing him as “untouchable.”