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In Afghanistan, Member of Hamid Karzai's Interim Government Killed

Aired February 15, 2002 - 12:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: In Afghanistan right now, a member of Hamid Karzai's interim government has been killed. The first report said that the transport minister had been beat up, roughed up and later killed for not taking care of some apparently angry Muslims who wanted to get off to mecca.

Let's get off to Brian Palmer on the ground a few moments ago, apparently getting new word there that this necessarily could have been in Hamid Karzai's words, "an assassination."

Brian, good evening to you.

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello Bill, explosive revelations here from Hamid Karzai. He called Thursday's murder of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister an assassination. Tonight he announced the names of 20 suspects, five of whom are high-ranking government and military officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID KARZAI, INTERIM AFGHAN GOVT. CHAIRMAN: We had a very tragic incident yesterday, in which Dr. Abdul Rahman, our minister of civil aviation and tourism, was assassinated, murdered. God bless him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PALMER: When chairman Karzai was repeatedly questioned by the media, he would not characterize this assassination as a conspiracy. He said the perpetrators committed it for personal reasons. Now among the suspects, the head of Afghanistan's intelligence ministry, a high- ranking defense official, and a member of the Supreme Court, all of whom were senior members of the Northern Alliance, all of whom have fled to Saudi Arabia.

Now in custody, here in Afghanistan, commander, the commander of the internal security forces, a prominent officer in the interior ministry and the commander of airport security, where Thursday's assassination took place. Chairman Karzai promised swift justice in connection with this assassination. The funeral for Dr. Abdul Rahman will be held tomorrow -- Bill.

HEMMER: Brian, quickly here, you mention personal reasons, that's what was cited by Hamid Karzai, but is there a way for us to breakdown and define what the personal reasons may have been?

PALMER: Chairman Karzai would not speculate. He was very abrupt with the press. Many people tried to get him to venture his opinion, but he cut them off at the pass. I think a lot more information will come out as the investigation continues, and as the media continues to probe the situation -- Bill.

HEMMER: Brian, I think the other thing this points to is the flat-out insecurity of that country still at this point. I'm wondering, you've been on the ground several days now, what's your sense of security there in Kabul?

PALMER: Well, Bill, as you may know earlier today, there was several violent incidents revolved around a soccer match that was to be a sign of international unity here. Members of the International Security Assistance Force, soldiers from across Europe, as well as Afghan security police, had several violent confrontations with people trying to force their way into the stadium to see the soccer match. There were people beaten, there were people kicked, punched, there was -- there were rounds fired, but there was no one killed. There was some injuries, so it's a very serious situation.

But again, the soccer match took place on the inside without serious incident. The violence was outside, so there will be very, very serious assessments of the security situation here in Kabul -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Brian, thanks.

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