Afghanistan bomber kills president's cousin Hashmat Karzai

  • 29 July 2014
  • From the section Asia
Hashmat Karzai with his lion
Image caption Hashmat Karzai, seen here with his pet lion

A suicide bomber has killed a cousin of President Hamid Karzai in the southern city of Kandahar, officials say.

Hashmat Karzai was greeting a well-wisher to his house when the man blew himself up. One report said explosives were hidden in the bomber's turban.

Mr Karzai had been receiving guests on the festival of Eid marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He was a campaign manager for Ashraf Ghani, one of two presidential hopefuls vying to replace Hamid Karzai.

There was no immediate claim for the assassination.

It follows a series of attacks carried out by the Taliban and their allies as votes are rechecked in the bitterly disputed election.

Hashmat Karzai was influential and a key backer of Ashraf Ghani.

The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul says he had emerged as a significant power-broker in the politics of Kandahar, the most important city in the south of Afghanistan.

The Karzai family had been split by a long running feud, our correspondent reports.

Hashmat, who had a pet lion, was the head of a security company with major US contracts, and had been implicated by some family members in the killing of a cousin - a charge he denied.

His own father was murdered by another family member 25 years ago.

In 2011 Hamid Karzai's brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, was murdered in his home in Kandahar in an attack claimed by the Taliban.