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Afghan Official: Al-Qaida May be Involved in July 6th V-P Slaying - 2002-07-17


The head of an Afghan government commission looking into the recent slaying of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir is not ruling out al-Qaida involvement, but adds all possibilities are being investigated.

Karim Khalili, who is also a vice-president, says the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is helping with the investigation. He said 15 people are currently in custody -- including 10 of Mr. Qadir's former bodyguards.

Mr. Khalili refused to speculate about the motive for the July Sixth killing, when unidentified gunmen shot Mr. Qadir at close range outside of his office in Kabul.

The Afghan official said the investigation into the murder case is still in its early stages and is proving to be very complicated. But he vowed that those guilty will be brought to justice.

Mr. Khalili raised the possibility that al-Qaida terrorists may have been involved in the killing. Afghan officials also have put forth another possible motive, saying the assassination may have been in retaliation for government efforts to shut down the opium trade.

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