UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 11, 2009

REPORTER MEETS KARZAI'S BROTHER AND IT ISN'T PRETTY

Tom Lasseter, McClatchy - The ride to Kandahar airport was tense. The Afghan president's brother had just yelled a litany of obscenities and said he was about to beat me. Ahmed Wali Karzai is feared by many in southern Afghanistan, and being threatened by him, in his home, isn't something to be taken lightly. . .

I was in my third week of tracking down former Afghan officials and asking them about drugs and corruption. Several had mentioned Karzai, President Hamid Karzai's brother and the head of Kandahar's provincial council.
After talking with poppy farmers, a drug dealer and former officials in Kandahar, it was time to see Ahmed Wali Karzai. . .

He began to glare at me and questioned whether I was really a reporter.

"It seems like someone sent you to write these things," he said, scowling.

Karzai glared some more.

"You should leave right now," he said.

I stuck my hand out to shake his; if I learned anything from three years of reporting in Iraq and then trips to Afghanistan during the past couple of years, it's that when things turn bad, you should cling to any remaining shred of hospitality.

Karzai grabbed my hand and used it to give me a bit of a push into the next room. He followed me, and his voice rose until it was a scream of curse words and threats.

I managed to record just one full sentence: "Get the (expletive) out before I kick your (expletive)."

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