Afghan president weeps for slain brother, crowns heir

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai buried his assassinated brother on Wednesday, then swiftly gave another brother a key role opened by the killing, in what could be a bid to stave off political infighting in the volatile south. President Karzai wept and kissed the face of his dead brother Ahmad Wali Karzai, unofficially the most powerful man in southern province Kandahar, at a burial in their ancestral village attended by thousands of mourners. Only hours after the body was lowered into the ground, the president appointed another brother, Shah Wali Karzai, as de facto leader of the Popalzai tribe to which the Karzai family belongs. Two explosions were heard in Kandahar city by a Reuters witness soon after the burial, but officials said the ceremony passed without security problems. Foreign forces said they had carried out controlled detonations at a nearby airfield. In another sign of the volatility of southern Afghanistan, the governor of neighbouring Helmand province escaped an early morning bomb attack on his motorcade en route to the burial. Two security officials were injured in the attack in Kandahar’s Maiwand district but the governor was unhurt and attended the burial, his spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said.