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Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Afghan minister assassinated
The wrecked car of Haji Qadir
Qadir's car was sprayed with bullets
The Afghan Minister for Public Works, Haji Abdul Qadir, has been shot dead in the capital Kabul.

Haji Abdul Qadir at the Bonn talks
Qadir stormed out of the Bonn talks
Government officials said Mr Qadir, who was also one of the country's three vice-presidents, was shot in the head as he left his ministry.

He was attacked by unknown gunmen who approached him in a car. His driver was also killed.

Correspondents say the killing of Mr Qadir will heighten concerns over the problems of establishing security in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taleban.

His death follows the killing of the Afghan aviation minister and an assassination attempt on the country's defence minister

US President George W Bush condemned the killing and said it emphasised the resolve to restore stability to Afghanistan.

Guards arrested

Government officials said Mr Qadir's killers - believed to have been hiding in the bushes just outside the ministry - escaped in a car after spraying his vehicle with bullets from close range.

We are more resolved than ever to bring stability to the country so the Afghan people can have peace and hope

George W Bush, US President

The bullets smashed the windscreen and riddled the side of the vehicle. The car then went out of control and slammed into a wall by the main entrance.

Kabul police chief Basir Salangi said all 10 security guards were arrested.

The Aghan President Hamid Karzai has called an emergency meeting of the cabinet, and the interior ministry set up checkpoints throughout the capital searching for the killers.

Powerful Pashtun

Mr Qadir was one of the most powerful men in eastern Afghanistan, and one of the few Pashtun members of the interim government.

Mr Qadir was the governor of Jalalabad when the Taleban arrived in the city in 1994.

Abdul Haq
Qadir's brother, Abdul Haq was killed by the Taleban

It was thought he had brokered a deal to stay there, but fled when negotiations broke down.

Mr Qadir returned to Jalalabad after the demise of the Taleban to reclaim his governorship.

He was involved in the Afghan reconstruction talks in the German city of Bonn last year.

He stormed out of the talks saying the delegations there representing his country did not contain sufficient Pashtun representatives.

Mr Qadir was also involved in a controversial crackdown on opium production in the east of the country.

The policy had led to reports of corruption among officials, and clashes with farmers resulting in a several deaths and injuries.

The BBC's Kate Clarke in Kabul says that after 20 years as a military leader Mr Qadir would have had many enemies.

But our correspondent says he also has friends and supporters in the east of Afghanistan, who may well want to try to take revenge.

Violent attacks

Last April there was an assassination attempt on the country's interim Defence Minister Mohammad Fahim.

Four civilians were killed and more than 50 others injured when a bomb exploded as Mr Fahim's convoy visited the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Last February, the Afghan Civil Aviation Minister, Abdul Rahman, was killed at Kabul airport in controversial circumstances in which other government ministers were implicated.

Mr Qadir's brother, Abdul Haq, was a legendary Mujahideen fighter.

He entered Afghanistan last year while it was still under Taleban control, attempting to promote an uprising.

But the Taleban captured and executed him.

The BBC's Jonathan Head reports from Kabul
"Haji Abdul Qadir was one of the most powerful warlords in the country"
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Sammad
"Everyone is extremely sad in Kabul today"
US President George W Bush
"Our country mourns the loss of a man who desired freedom and stability"
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
"It is deeply shocking"


Political uncertainty






See also:

30 Nov 01 | South Asia
20 Feb 02 | South Asia
08 Apr 02 | South Asia
22 Jan 02 | South Asia
01 Jul 02 | Country profiles
06 Jul 02 | South Asia
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