NATO Troops Kill Karzai’s Cousin in Botched Night Raid

'Suspected Insurgents' Were Bodyguards Working for Provincial Council Chairman

The embarrassment and the apologies keep coming for NATO troops in Afghanistan today, after an overnight raid in the tiny village of Karz, in the Kandahar Province, attacked the home of a cousin of President Hamid Karzai.

The cousin, Yar Mohammed Karzai, was 60 years old and a lifelong resident of the village, the Karzai family’s ancestoral home. He was shot in the head and killed by NATO troops. His son was briefly arrested as a suspect but later released. Troops also captured three bodyguards and two neighbors who came over to see what the ruckus was, terming them “suspected insurgents.”

The bodyguards, according to President Karzai’s half brother, Kandahar Provincial Council Chair Wali Karzai, were assigned by him after an attack by militants killed Yar Mohammed’s other son. They remain in custody.

NATO reported in the wake of the killing that he was not the “prime target” and insisted that they had already apologized to the Afghan government for yet another botched killing of an innocent man.

Such apologies have been coming all too regularly lately, however, and given that President Karzai just got done spurning an apology over the weekend for killing nine children in Kunar, the news of his cousin’s death is unlikely to be shrugged off.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.