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Afghan vice president shot dead

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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Gunmen have shot dead one of Afghanistan's deputy presidents, Haji Abdul Qadir, and his driver outside the gates of a government ministry in Kabul.

Afghan officials arrested several members of Qadir's security personnel shortly after the shooting on Saturday afternoon, an interior ministry official told CNN. They were arrested for negligence, the official said.

A Pashtun, Qadir also served as the minister of public works in Afghanistan's transitional government, and helped fight the Taliban as a former Northern Alliance commander in eastern Afghanistan.

He was one of three vice presidents chosen by last month's grand council to serve in the Cabinet of President Hamid Karzai, and was a former governor of Nangarhar province.

Government spokesman Omar Samat said two gunmen waiting outside the gates of Qadir's office fired on his black Toyota Land Cruiser from the side and then from the rear as the vehicle veered into a wall.

"They were on foot. They were standing near the gate when they shot the minister," he said. "As they fired the last shots, a car which looks like a taxi cab ... came and picked them up and fled."

Video of the scene showed Qadir's vehicle riddled with bullet holes, crashed into a wall surrounding the Ministry for Public Works. The interior of the vehicle was covered in blood.

Armed military personnel from the international security forces assigned to Kabul surrounded the area.

U.S. President George W. Bush, celebrating his birthday at the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, said his administration mourned the loss of Qadir, a man who fought for freedom and security.

He said the United States remained committed to stability and was confident Afghanistan would pull through this most difficult time.

Questions about security

CNN's John Raedler said the shooting raised profound questions about security, and the stability of the government in Afghanistan.

In February, the Afghan minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Abdul Rahman was assassinated at Kabul airport.

At least four people were killed and 20 others injured when a bomb exploded near a convoy carrying Afghanistan's interim defense minister Mohammad Fahim in April.

Afghan government officials called Saturday's shooting a terrorist act.

"It could be any one of different enemies of Afghanistan, of peace, of reconstruction in this country," Samat said.

"Whoever they are, we are sure they are terrorists because this was an Afghan national ... a leader with a long history of struggle for the freedom of his country."

Samat said the Cabinet was meeting in an emergency session and would have a statement shortly. He called the assassination "a stumbling block," but said officials were "confident that stability and peace will prevail in Afghanistan."

"The process continues," he said. "The goal is to bring total peace and stability to this country that has seen nothing but war for the past 24 years."

Samat said Qadir eschewed personal security, believing guards kept him too separate from the people of Afghanistan. He had no security guards with him in the vehicle, Samat said.

Qadir was brother of legendary rebel commander Abdul Haq, who was captured and hanged by the Taliban last year after slipping into the country to organize resistance to the Islamic militia.

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This definitely sucks, but whenever there is a transition of power in a combustable area like this (also Congo, former Yugoslavia, etc), there are bound to be unfotunate casualties.

Like every other place on the planet, there needs to be more security and investigations.

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im very skeptical about the situation in afganistan. you cannot suddenly impose law and order on people that have been killing each other for hundreds of years. the afghan way of life is savage, they are backward people that need to arrive at a point of their culture when they are mature enough to handle disputes without violence. we are wasting our time and money there.

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Originally posted by tribal

im very skeptical about the situation in afganistan. you cannot suddenly impose law and order on people that have been killing each other for hundreds of years. the afghan way of life is savage, they are backward people that need to arrive at a point of their culture when they are mature enough to handle disputes without violence. we are wasting our time and money there.

backwards? couldn't you say the same about the situation in the middle east? :confused::rolleyes:

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