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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Al-Qaeda 'may have killed minister'
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah said the motive of the murder is still unknown
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has said the assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir might have been carried out by Taleban or al-Qaeda militants.


The intention is to have a completely neutral, fair, quick and professional investigation

Afghan government spokesman
Mr Abdullah, who is in Paris for talks on Afghan reconstruction, said Qadir's murder was a "terrorist act aimed at destabilising Afghanistan."

Qadir - one of few prominent members of the majority Pashtun community in the government - was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Kabul on Saturday.

Reports on Monday said Afghanistan had appealed to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help investigate the killing.

The two gunmen who killed Qadir at point-blank range made their escape in a car despite a major security operation launched in Kabul.

Motive unknown

Mr Abdullah told reporters that a link between the murder and al-Qaeda operatives and the Taleban was "certainly possible".

Mourners march in Kabul with Qadir's coffin which was then flown to Jalalabad
Thousands marched with Qadir's coffin in Kabul on Sunday

According to the French news agency AFP, Mr Abdullah said that "organisations like al-Qaeda or the Taleban could seek to assassinate a leader of that calibre".

The foreign minister also suggested that Qadir's killing could have been linked to his efforts to battle drug trafficking, which went "against the interests of some people".

But he stressed it was still too early to know the killers' precise motive.

Earlier on Monday, government spokesman Sayed Fazl Akbar said that the cabinet had decided to ask ISAF for help in the investigation.

"The intention is to have a completely neutral, fair, quick and professional investigation for prompt identification of the culprits," the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.

ISAF said it would respond on Tuesday.

Mr Akbar said a dozen people detained in connection with the killing would be handed over to the Turkish-led force.

Powerful figure

President Hamid Karzai made Qadir one of his vice-presidents last month after Pashtun complaints that the government was dominated by ethnic Tajiks from the Northern Alliance which fought the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

Afghan police guard the assassinated minister's car
It is not known who is behind the killing

Qadir was a powerful military and political figure with large business interests in eastern Afghanistan.

There is no obvious successor to his power base. His brother - commander Abdul Haq - was captured and executed by the Taleban as the movement was being chased out of power last autumn.

There is also no word so far about who might succeed him as vice-president or as minister of public works - an influential post because of the large amounts of money being spent on major reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

The Pashtun community in Afghanistan was the power base of the ousted Taleban regime and there are concerns that the assassination could destabilise the eastern provinces.


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07 Jul 02 | South Asia
07 Jul 02 | South Asia
06 Jul 02 | South Asia
30 Nov 01 | South Asia
29 Oct 01 | South Asia
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