Afghan Biographies

Karzai’s Popalzai tribe rapidly loosing grip in Southern Afghanistan

Subject Karzai’s Popalzai tribe rapidly loosing grip in Southern Afghanistan

After the death of Ahmad Wali Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan and Ghulam Haider President Karzai’s Popalzai tribe is on the way to be reduced to real importance, which was blown up of all proportion.

“The Popalzai [Karzai’s tribe] have done nothing but contribute to dismantling the tribes,” said Izzatullah Wasifi, a former anti-corruption chief whose father was the leader of the Alikozai tribe. According to the Afghan authorities, more than 500 tribal elders have been killed in Kandahar Province over the past five years (2006-2011). In most cases it was not the Taliban who killed them but Ahmad Wali Khan (AWK) who with his Kandahar mafia was very often behind the killings to ensure the Popalzai tribe's supremacy in the southern provinces of Afghanistan. Either the other tribes were with AWK or against him. If their tribal elders were against him they were denounced as Taliban or Al Qaeda and killed by AWK’s Kandahar Strike Force or American Special Forces. AWK had established a terror regime which is crumbling now.

“People in Kandahar are stuck between two governments: one is the government of [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, and the other is the Taliban government,” says Hajji Naik Mohammed, an elder from the Noorzai tribe in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district, 12 miles from Kandahar city.

Right now, everyone is running away from the system. Most of the Pashtuns in Southern Afghanistan are the enemies of the Karzai system which gave the Popalzai tribe members a key role.

But as the political wrangling continues, the Taliban insurgency in Kandahar also rages on. Residents in the city say recent violence is diminishing hopes that the situation will improve.

Released 2011-08-08