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Bush Offers Condolences, Help in Afghan VP Killing - 2002-07-06


President Bush has condemned Saturday's assassination of Afghan Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir and offered U-S help in tracking down his killers.

Mr. Bush described Mr. Qadir as a good man who desired freedom and stability for the country he loved. Mr. Bush says the assassination strengthens U-S resolve to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Unknown gunmen fired dozens of rounds at a car carrying Mr. Qadir near his office compound in the Afghan capital Kabul. His driver was also killed in the ambush. Witnesses say the killers were posing as security guards. Several guards on duty at the compound were arrested for doing nothing to stop the attack.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but a government statement called it a terrorist action and said a special commission has been formed to track down the killers.

Several other countries also condemned the murder. China's official Xinhua news agency says the Foreign Ministry expressed shock over the incident and sent condolences to the Afghan people and government. Iran's Foreign Ministry says the attack was the work of people who do not want to see a stable Afghanistan.

Mr. Qadir was one of three vice presidents in President Hamid Karzai's cabinet and also served as public works minister and governor of Afghanistan's eastern Nangahar province. His brother, Abdul Haq, was a legendary anti-Soviet commander who was hanged by the Taleban in October when he slipped into Afghanistan to organize resistance to the hard-line Islamic group.

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