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Originally published July 31, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Page modified July 31, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Official: Associate killed Karzai's half-brother

A Western official says the powerful half-brother of President Hamid Karzai was gunned down by an associate over a personal issue, and was not assassinated by the Taliban.

Associated Press

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KABUL, Afghanistan —

A Western official says the powerful half-brother of President Hamid Karzai was gunned down by an associate over a personal issue, and was not assassinated by the Taliban.

The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the death of Ahmed Wali Karzai on July 12. That set off a power struggle and worries about stability in southern Afghanistan as attacks and assassinations continue.

The official, who spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence issues, said close review of the killing led authorities to conclude the Taliban claim was false.

Taliban involvement in the killing could have undercut the president's peace talks with insurgents, as U.S. and coalition allies begin to withdraw forces.

The gunman was identified as Sardar Mohammad, who had provided security for Wali Karzai and his family.

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